Signs are going up to remind people of Cheshire East Council's new beefed-up powers to crack down on dog fouling and dog control – to help keep our parks, nature reserves and open spaces pleasant for all.
It follows overwhelming public support for tougher controls put forward by the council during its recent borough-wide consultation.
The council introduced the new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) on 1 November 2017, specifically to tackle dog fouling and dog control across the borough.
New signs are now being installed across parks, nature reserves and open spaces to remind everyone of the new rules and to warn dog owners they could be fined for failing to pick up after their dog or keep their dog under control.
Fiona Reynolds, director of public health for Cheshire East, said: "We want everyone to enjoy the Cheshire East countryside and make the most of our beautiful parks, nature reserves and open spaces this spring.
"To ensure areas are safe and clean for everyone to use, we have to be strict about asking dog owners to keep their dogs under control and to pick up after their dog. Failing to do this could see dog owners fined between £100 and £1,000 under the new Public Spaces Protection Order.
"Most people are very responsible when walking their dogs and are happy to keep to these simple rules and we thank them for helping us to maintain pleasant green spaces for all to enjoy."
The main features of the PSPO allow the council to:
● Tackle those that fail to pick up after their dog in all public places within Cheshire East borough;
● Allow authorised officers to tell a dog owner/walker to put – and keep – their dog on a lead if necessary. For example, if their dog was showing aggressive behaviour; and
● Issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100. A failure to pay the FPN may lead to prosecution and a potential maximum fine of £1,000, as would more serious breaches of the PSPO.
Cheshire East Council has a statutory duty to keep land clear of litter and refuse (including dog fouling) and a duty of care for dealing with waste.
The authority also has a duty to take action against irresponsible individuals who fail to clear up after their dogs on land which is open to the public. Not only is dog mess highly unpleasant, it is also a hazard to health – particularly to young children. Roundworm eggs found in dog mess (toxocara canis) can easily be picked up by children. This causes stomach upsets, sore throats, asthma and, in some cases, blindness.
Introducing the PSPO last November allowed the council to replace and extend the existing dog controls and byelaws to give a consistent approach across the borough to dog fouling and introduce dog control requirements to encourage responsible dog ownership and ensure that everyone is able to enjoy our publicly-accessible open areas, woodland, heath land, country parks and public spaces safely.
A national survey found 95 per cent of Britons are worried about the amount of dog fouling. The council recognises that most dog owners are responsible and clean up after their pets but a small minority continue to cause problems.