October 2018

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Published on 30 October 2018

New responsible dog ownership PSPO approved

A new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), aimed at reducing irresponsible dog ownership and making Teignbridge an even cleaner and greener place to be has been approved by Teignbridge’s Executive today.

The PSPO will protect public parks and open spaces against people who do not pick up after, or control, their dogs properly. It is planned to be enforced from 1 January 2019.

The recommendations presented to Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Committee took into account comments by Teignbridge residents who were asked about the proposals to introduce the PSPO. More than 2,000 people took part in the consultation in 2017 and the information they gave helped shape the order.

There are eight controls within the PSPO, most of which are an enhancement of existing controls.

The three new controls are:

  • means to pick up – it is now an offence if a person in charge of a dog does not carry a bag or other means of clearing up after their dog at all times

  • dog(s) on a lead on the highway – it is now an offence if, at any time, a person in charge of a dog does not keep the dog on a lead whilst on a road or footpaths adjacent to a road

  • restricting the number of dogs that can be walked by a person on or off the lead to four

Following discussion the Executive agreed to:

  • add working dogs to the existing list of exemptions -  farm dogs moving livestock on the highway are not expected to be on a lead

  • add cycle paths as a highway

The Executive also agreed to bring forward the seasonal dog exclusion area on beaches so it is consistent along the Teignbridge coast. This means the exclusion areas on beaches will start from 1 April, a month earlier than usual, and run until 30 September. This will be reviewed after 12 months.

The need to introduce a PSPO was identified to help make the enforcement process simpler. While there are laws covering dog fouling and irresponsible dog ownership, it was identified as being patchy and in some places Teignbridge has no control over enforcement. This inconsistency makes enforcement more challenging in areas where people have reported a problem.

Currently in Teignbridge, byelaws which apply to some council-owned parks, green spaces and beaches cannot be enforced using fixed penalty notices – offences must be prosecuted through the courts which can be costly and is a procedure rarely used.

This is frustrating for Teignbridge, along with the many responsible dog owners, residents and visitors, and adds up in terms of council time, resources and taxpayers’ money to deal with it.

Anyone seen or found guilty of not observing the PSPO is liable to receive a fixed penalty notice of £100.

Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“Most dog owners are responsible and we encourage them to keep using our wonderful places to exercise their pets. The control order is designed to ensure a consistent approach. It aims to deal with a small minority who do not pick up after their dogs or keep them under control.”

As part of Teignbridge District Council’s ten year strategy, its ‘clean scene’ project identifies a review of council policies on dog fouling and restricted access across Teignbridge’s open spaces and beaches. Through the public consultation and PSPO Teignbridge is doing just that and working to create a clean and green district that is attractive for residents and visitors alike to live work and visit.

The PSPO report considered by Executive is online at:

www.teignbridge.gov.uk/committee-meetings-and-agendas/executive-meetings/executive-2018-2019/