New Legislation means we can introduce Dog Control Orders under Section 55 of The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. Dog Control Orders simplify the system for controlling dogs and replace the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996.
Why introduce Dog Control Orders?
We recognise that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible, pick up after their dogs and keep them under proper control. However, there is a very small minority of people who don't, which can create a number of problems that residents ask the District Council to deal with. We wish to ensure that the district council takes a proportionate approach to tackle dog control issues. We also need to ensure the appropriateness of the application of new orders to the types of land for which the Council is responsible.
The Council undertook an extensive consultation to find out which Orders members of the public wanted us to introduce. The consultation process took place between February and April 2008 and consisted of the following methods:
- Statutory press advertisements were published in the East Grinstead Courier on the 20th March 2008 and the Mid Sussex Times on the 27th March 2008.
- Letters to the Statutory Authorities.
- Press release on the consultation process.
- MSDC Website online survey.
- 1 to 1 interviews with members of the public.
- Letters to a number of stakeholder groups used in previous Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act consultation.
- Letters to a number of Animal Charities / Dog Walking Services.
The stakeholder consultation produced a response from 267 respondents. The results of the consultation are set out in the table below:
For each proposed control order, stakeholders were asked to indicate their support to the proposed introduction of each Dog Control Orders.
Proposed Dog Control Orders
The offence of failing to remove dog faeces
Dogs are excluded from specific areas of Council owned land
Dogs must be on a lead on land specified by the Council (Considerable supplementary issues have been raised relating to this control order and its application).
Dogs must be on a lead if requested by an authorised officer
Maximum number of dogs that a person takes on council land is six. (Considerable supplementary issues have been raised relating to this order and its application).
Issues arising from the consultation.
The key issues on each dog control order are set out below:
a) Dog Fouling. Mid Sussex does not have a major problem with dog fouling due to the responsible attitude of the vast majority of dog owners/walkers. Regrettably, Council officers are called in to deal with problem sites, and changing patterns of dog walking. Education is the key to resolving this problem with targeted enforcement as the last resort.
b) Dog Exclusion. The concept of dog exclusion did cause a degree of public concern during consultation, however when the limitation of dog exclusion was explained to consultees the majority of respondents were generally satisfied with the proposals. The standard specification for play area's includes dog proof fencing and signage, which clearly indicates the Council's intention for dogs to be excluded.
c) Dogs on a Lead. The suggested introduction of this control order raised significant issues of public concern. As there are safety issues for drivers when dogs are exercised near a highway, officers believe the few incidents can be tackled when observed by officers through ongoing educational work without the need to bring in additional controls.
d) Dogs on a Lead when requested. This option is considered the preferred route to resolve most of the dog control problems, which have been experienced to date. It delivers a pragmatic and proportionate response to the level of problems experienced in Mid Sussex. Officers believe that it should be sufficient for dog owners to be advised of this need for leads, if and when the situation arises. Such guidance would be incorporated into statutory signage, where this is in force.
e) Maximum number of dogs. The suggested adoption of this proposed dog control order for one connected land parcel including, Leyland's Park (former tip site) and the adjacent Bedelands Farm Nature Reserve, Burgess Hill. If Council agrees to implement this proposal, officers will monitor this specific dog control order and its effectiveness in resolving the existing problems in conjunction with the other dog control orders as set out in this report.
Mid Sussex District Council decision
The Council took on board residents' feedback when deciding which dog control orders should be implemented. To find out what these Orders are please visit the Dog Control Orders webpage.