Consultation on controlling dogs in public

Guardian fundraiser for Cancer Research UK.  Sleeping Beauty, aka Lisa Williams takes a break during the fundraising with Gemma the dog at Now and Then (w110816-9c)
Guardian fundraiser for Cancer Research UK. Sleeping Beauty, aka Lisa Williams takes a break during the fundraising with Gemma the dog at Now and Then (w110816-9c)

People across the district are being asked for their views on proposals to extend powers to control dogs in public.

Leeds City Council first introduced dog control orders on February 1 this year, with the aim of clamping down on nuisance or dangerous behaviour.

They empower council staff to instruct people to put dogs on a lead in public if they are causing a nuisance. Under the current orders dogs are also banned from play areas in some parks and council-owned land.

Now the council wants to hear what people across the city think about a proposal that on certain land dogs should be on a lead at all times.

This includes areas such as cemeteries and crematoria to reduce potential disturbance to visitors, as well as on all carriageways, adjacent footpaths and grass verges, to prevent dogs running into roads.

The council also wants to find out what views are on the suggestion that the original order – banning dogs from certain land – should be widened to include school grounds, remembrance and wildlife gardens.

Coun Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services, Leeds City Council, said: “These orders are aimed at controlling dog behaviour – particularly when they are acting dangerously – and we now want to know whether people would like us to take this further. For instance, when we have looked at this previously, it has been suggested that there are merits in keeping dogs on leads.

“The response to our initial consultation was one of the largest we have ever received and we want to make sure everyone has a chance to make their views known on these proposals.”

Should any of the proposals be implemented it would be a criminal offence to breach them, as it is with the existing orders, resulting in a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction. Alternatively, offenders can choose to pay a fixed penalty charge of £75 to avoid prosecution.

A full list of land affected by the proposals, further background information and some answers to frequently-asked questions about dog control orders can be found on the Leeds City Council website at www.leeds.gov.uk/dogs This is also where you can find an online questionnaire to submit with your views.

Richie Womersley, a Bramham-based dog walker, of The Dog Walker, said he was ‘pleased’ with the new proposals. “I think they are just common sense to dog owners to keep them off certain land. It is for the safety of the dogs and their owners. I welcome these proposals and think it is only the sensible thing to do.”

sarah.dawson@ypn.co.uk