It’s a dog’s life

A dog excercise ban sign, on the prom at Seaton Carew, Green. Picture by FRANK REID
A dog excercise ban sign, on the prom at Seaton Carew, Green. Picture by FRANK REID

PEOPLE will be able to voice their opinions on the issue of dog control orders when a major consultation is launched.

Officers at Hartlepool Borough Council are carrying out the review of the orders after receiving a number of requests to tweak existing orders and to include new areas.

The orders were brought in across the town in 2008 to clamp down on irresponsible dog owners.

But there have been fresh calls for dogs to be banned from an area of North Sands, on the Headland, and for dogs to be allowed off their leads on the Rift House Recreation Ground.

The review will take place over the next three months and it comes just days after the Mail pictured dog walkers flouting a ban at Seaton Carew.

Dog owners are banned from taking their pets on to three stretches of town beaches between May 1 and September 30.

The ban covers a stretch of Seaton Carew beach, between the Norton Hotel and the coach park, and the Fish Sands and the Block Sands on the Headland, including the lower promenade and the paddling pool.

Dog control orders give local authorities a range of powers including fining people who do not clean up after their pets or fail to keep them on a lead.

The orders also allow councils to limit the number of dogs allowed on to 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 that is reduced to £50 if paid within seven days.

Labour councillor Robbie Payne agreed to go out to consultation at a meeting of his finance and procurement portfolio.

Craig Thelwell, the council’s waste and environment services manager, said: “Since the introduction of the dog control orders in 2008, Hartlepool Borough Council has received a number of requests from council members and members of the public for amendments to be made to designated areas.

“Natural England has also requested that an order is placed on the sites of special scientific interest area of North Sands, Headland.”

Denise Ogden, the council’s assistant director (neighbourhood services), said the council cannot introduce a new order or make a change to an existing one without reviewing all of the orders that are currently in force.

A series of public meetings, on dates to be announced, will be held with officers attending neighbourhood forums and community groups. Parish councils will also be consulted.

The recommendations will then be reported back to Coun Payne later this summer.