Council bosses look to bring in new dog enforcement orders in Hartlepool

The Paddling Pool, Hartlepool Headland.  Picture by FRANK REID
The Paddling Pool, Hartlepool Headland. Picture by FRANK REID

Council bosses are looking to bring in new enforcement orders for dog owners - including fines for people not carrying bags to clean up after their pets.

Hartlepool Borough Council neighbourhood services committee is being asked to bring in four new public space protection orders (PSPOs) impacting dog owners.

The Seaton Carew children's play area on the site of the former paddling pool.

The Seaton Carew children's play area on the site of the former paddling pool.

These include designated officers being given powers to check dog walkers are carrying bags to pick up their dog’s mess and to issue fines where they are unable to do so.

Council bosses also want to introduce a ‘Dogs on Leads Order’ for North Cemetery, bringing it in line with other cemeteries in the borough, and restricting lead length to a maximum of 1.5 metres in all Hartlepool cemeteries.

The fourth order is to extend the existing ‘Dog Exclusion Order’ for the former paddling pool on the Front at Seaton to include the new water park.

The council will also launch a communications campaign to raise awareness of the orders and also of places where dogs can be freely exercised if approved.

Breaching one of the proposed PSPOs would be punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £100 and if a person refuses to pay they can be taken to magistrates’ court and fined up to £1,000.

A public consultation was carried out last year looking at bringing in new PSPOs with over 700 responses to the council.

A report from Tony Hanson, assistant director for environment and neighbourhood services, said the orders would allow the council to increase its effectiveness in tackling dog fouling and nuisance dog-owners.

It said: “Dog fouling occurs across the borough and limits residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of the town’s many parks, beaches and open spaces.

“The restriction on lead length will only apply to cemeteries and will help to ensure that owners cannot be unaware when their dog fouls with the intention that this will increase the picking up of dog foul.

“Checking that dog walkers are carrying the means to pick up after their dog will encourage owners to ensure that they are carrying sufficient bags.

“Many of the survey respondents welcomed this proposal on the basis that those who fail to clean up after their dogs give all dog owners a bad name.

“Amending the existing Dogs Exclusion Order on the former paddling pool at Seaton would extend the protection to cover the whole of the new water park site.

“The site began to generate complaints almost immediately about people taking their dogs into the water park.”

The consultation found 78.55% of people wanted the ‘Dogs on Lead’ order for North Cemetery, while 60.19% agreed lead length should be restricted to 1.5 metres in cemeteries.

Meanwhile 74.41% of respondents agreed designated officers should be given powers to check dog walkers are carrying bags to clean up after their pets and fine those unable to.

The consultation also looked to bring in seasonal dog orders into the beach and dunes area of North Sands, but talks with environmental bosses deemed it not necessary.

The council have recently installed over 40 dog waste bag dispensers in 29 public spaces, where bags can be obtained free of charge.

Responsibility for the enforcement of the current and proposed PSPOs sits with Hartlepool Community Safety Team.

A decision will be made whether to approve the new orders at the council neighbourhood services committee next Monday.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service