Have your say on dog controls

PEOPLE will have the chance to air their views on the issue of dog control orders at a meeting next week.

The orders, which were introduced across the town in December 2008, will be the sole item discussed at a joint meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council’s three neighbourhood consultative forums that normally meet separately in the north, centre and south of the town.

Denise Ogden, Hartlepool Borough Council’s assistant director (neighbourhood services), said: “We have received a couple of requests for additional Dog Control Orders to be enforced around the town and for existing ones to be tweaked.

“However, we cannot introduce a new order or make a change to an existing one without reviewing all of the orders that are currently in force.

“Next week’s joint forum meeting forms part of the review and we hope people will come along and participate in the discussion.”

Dog control orders give local authorities a range of powers to clampdown on irresponsible owners and respond to problems caused by dogs in a more co-ordinated and effective way.

These include fining people who do not clean up after their pets or fail to keep them on a lead.

The orders also allow local authorities to limit the number of dogs allowed onto particular areas of land or to exclude them altogether.

In some areas, the orders allow for dogs to be exercised freely.

In Hartlepool, five orders were introduced to replace a number of out-dated dog bye-laws. Owners who breach an order face a fixed penalty notice fine of £80 although this is reduced to £50 if the fine is paid within seven days.

Craig Thelwell, Hartlepool Borough Council’s waste and environmental services manager, said: “We acknowledge that many people get a lot of pleasure from owning a dog, but what we are asking is that they accept the responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with owning a dog.”

The meeting will take place next Tuesday, February 8, from noon to 2pm at Hartlepool Civic Centre.