New dog control measures set to come into force

May 23, 2023 | Local News

A requirement to keep dogs on leads in cemeteries is among a series of new measures set to come into force in County Durham next week.

Durham County Council is renewing its Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Dog Control, which it first introduced in 2017.

The PSPO gives the council powers to issue a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice for offences such as dog fouling and allowing a dog to stray.

The new look PSPO comes into force on Thursday 1 June and has been drawn-up following a seven week public consultation held earlier this year.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change, said: “We introduced the original PSPO in response to community concerns about irresponsible dog owners.

“Since then, we’ve seen reductions in reports of dog fouling and stray dogs but we know they haven’t gone away and still rank highly among the key issues our communities raise with us.

“We also know the vast majority of dog owners act responsibly – the PSPO gives us powers to take action against those who don’t. It’s targeted at dog owners who fail to look after or control their pets and create worry and stress for other people.”

Under the new PSPO, the list of offences will increase from four to nine, which are as follows:

  • Allowing a dog to foul without picking it up
  • Allowing a dog to stray
  • Failure to put a dog on a lead when asked to do so by an authorised person
  • Allowing a dog in identified fenced off play areas
  • Allowing a dog in identified tennis courts and multi-use games areas (MUGAs)
  • Failure to have a dog on a lead in churchyards, cemeteries or crematoria managed by Durham County Council
  • Failure to have a dog on a lead on identified sports pitches
  • Walking more than six dogs at once
  • Failure to have an identity tag attached to a harness or collar in a public space

The new PSPO reflects the views expressed during the consultation, which attracted 844 responses and invited input from local people and organisations including the Kennel Club, police, and town and parish councils.

A proposal to introduce a seasonal dog ban on Seaham’s small “slope beach” was not progressed after the consultation revealed low support for it.

A 1,240-name petition objecting to the proposal was also received by the council, with some local businesses expressing concerns about a potential negative impact on trade.

Cllr Wilkes said: “The offences we’ve added to the new PSPO are based on the kinds of recurring problems people have told us about in recent years, including things like requiring dogs to be on leads in cemeteries and on identified sports pitches.

“I’d like to thank everybody who responded to our consultation. We’ve listened very carefully to what people have had to say, and as a result, we’ve dropped the proposal for a seasonal ban of dogs from Seaham’s slope beach altogether.

“Each of the other proposals has received strong support through the consultation, and so we are progressing with those.”

The new PSPO will be in place for three years and be reviewed before it expires on 31 May, 2026.

For more details of the PSPO visit the council’s website www.durham.gov.uk/dogcontrol.