Changes may be made to the rules around dogs on Dorset’s public spaces.
A public consultation is about to start for the new orders which will come into force when the existing regulations come to an end on December 31st.
Dorset Council is expected to start the public consultation in mid-June running until the third week in August to then be followed by a discussion on the public responses, with the new Dog Related Public Spaces Protection Order expected to be adopted in November to come into force at the end of the year.
Verwood councillor Toni Coombs said dogs using public spaces was an issue in the countryside including places like Potterne Park, which although it has a dog ban in place, continues to be used to exercise pets.
“People just carried on as if nothing had happened… If all dog owners were good and picked up, it would be ok, but they’re not,” she said, telling committee members how parents lined up before sports matches to do the ‘poo pick’ from dogs which should not have been there in the first place.
“How do we enforce it? It’s just ignored,” she said.
“Residents will continue to let their dogs run free because it’s a large flat area, unless we take action.”
The committee heard it was recognised as a ‘hot spot’ for problem dog walkers and said plans were being dicussed to possibly use CCTV to catch errant owners.
Dorset Council environmental protection service manager Janet Moore told councillors this week that the 2020 consultation had attracted 8,500 responses, one of the biggest ever.
She said that most of the points from the existing orders will go into the consultation process but it will also raise issues which have divided opinion.
She said that complaints about either the order, or breaches of the order, have been declining – from 65 in the first year, to 31 last year and only 11 this year, which, she said, might be because people were generally content with what was now in place.
She conceded that enforcement remained an issue with obvious difficulties in observing breaches as they occured and then being able to take enforcement action.