Blanket dog order may force residents to break the law

A new dog control order called a “Public Space Protection Order” (PSPO) that is being introduced by Ribble Valley Borough Council may have the effect of forcing local dog owners to break the law.

Currently, under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, owners have a duty to provide for their animal’s welfare, which includes exercising them.

However, the draft version of the new order appears to bring in a blanket ban on the exercising of dogs off leads on all council owned land.

Indeed, this blanket ban is contrary to the guidance for introducing the orders provided by the Local Government Association, which says:

In some cases of course it will not be appropriate to introduce broad-scale restrictions…. In determining the area covered by restrictions, councils should therefore consider how to accommodate the need for owners to exercise their animals. The area which the PSPO will cover must be clearly defined. Mapping out areas where certain behaviours are permitted may also be helpful; for instance identifying specific park areas where dogs can be let off a lead without breaching the PSPO.

Leader of the Opposition on Ribble Valley Borough Council Cllr Allan Knox said: “It is clear that the implementation of the Public Space Protection Orders has not been thought through.

“Yes, it is important to tackle dog-fouling and there are some sensible suggestions in some of the draft orders. But, to ban dogs exercising freely on the Castle Field seems a draconian punishment for the vast majority of dog owners, who act responsibly.

“It also seems that it is impossible to enforce – as someone who walks through the park at all times the day and night I know that dog owners exercise their dogs from very early morning till late at night.

“It also seems madness that the council only has one- full-time equivalent dog warden – it would be much better to employ a second warden than to bring in these silly orders.

“Finally, dog ownership isn’t just about liking dogs. The companionship of a dog reduces the feelings of social isolation & loneliness, whilst the need to exercise it increases peoples’ fitness and health and makes the dog owner engage with their local community & environment. One of the council’s goals is to promote the wellbeing of its residents, so why on earth are they trying to make dog ownership difficult?”

8 thoughts on “Blanket dog order may force residents to break the law

  1. Mrs. Betina Linley says:

    Thank goodness, someone up their in the highraki talkes some common sense.

  2. Tony Marks says:

    Does the law not already state that dogs must be on a lead at all times when in a public place. Therefore most people are breaking the law already.

    • allanknox says:

      No the law states it is illegal for you dog to to be dangerously out of control in a public space https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/overview.
      Therefore, currently there is nothing wrong with exercising your dog in a non-dangerous manner by getting it to chase after a ball or the like. Indeed it is something that is encouraged by the 2006 Animal Welfare Act as I say in the article.

      • Tony Marks says:

        Ah, but one persons dangerous is another persons just being friendly, as I’ve argued with people in the past, but that’s a whole other debate. Thank you for clearing that up, will need to keep my eye on this for when I move over to Clitheroe.

  3. Julie Lewis says:

    I thought this was already in place in clitheroe as the field off edisford road was once mentioned as a no off lead exercise area. Also isnt the castle grounds only maintained by the council and not owned by them? (My understanding it was bequethed to the people of clitheroe, is that incorrect)

    • allanknox says:

      It is at Edisford sports pitches.
      It isn’t at Castle Field.
      Castle Field was bought by public subscription and then passed onto Clitheroe Borough Council who, when abolished in 1974 passed ownership onto RVBC. Dog Orders will apply not just to council owned land but land owned by Parish councils and churches too.

  4. Nigel McTear says:

    My son who is 8 is scared of dogs !
    Does this mean that an animal has more rights than my son who can not walk through the castle grounds because of the dogs being off leads?
    Have you yourself been to the castle grounds and watched the dog owners talking in groups whilst their dogs are running around?
    Please do your homework first then comment and not just look for easy votes

    • allanknox says:

      Nigel when I was 8 I was scared of dogs as i was attacked by one when I was 2. I am still am not the best person with them, but some understanding people have helped introduce me to dogs and let me see that by and large there is nothing to be scared of.
      Yes as I say in the article I have seen the dogs and their owners in the park. I think it is a good thing – the owners get to socialise and see people they might not see and have a group of friends. Also it is good that dogs get to interact with other dogs.

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