Plans for new dog order zones at Hartlepool beach and cemetery
Two new areas could be added to locations where enforcement officers have the powers to take action against owners who fail to take control of their dogs.
Hartlepool Borough Council hopes to include North Sands and North Cemetery through its Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO), which already cover a series of locations across the town.
It plans to consult residents about including the additional areas under the orders, with a Dogs on a Lead instruction to cover the North Cemetery and an Exclusion Order put on place on the North Sands beach between the mean high water line and low water lines as well as a leads order between October 1 to April 30, tying in with other beach control orders.
In addition to the leads and exclusion orders, the notices can also take in the whole town:
•A Dog on a Lead by Direction Order, when a person is told by a council environmental enforcement officer, police community support office or police officer to put their pet on a lead if it is causing a nuisance;
•Fouling of Land Order, which sets out how the person responsible for the dog must clean up after it;
•Specified Maximum Number of Dogs Order, which says a person can take up to four dogs out with them at any one town.
The penalty for breaching the orders is £80.
The PSPOs replaced the council’s Dog Control Orders last October and as part of a review of the process, the two new areas have been put forward for orders.
The one suggested for North Cemetery would bring it into line with others across the town, while the restrictions at North Sands would help protect the wild bird colonies.
They have also been identified as areas where enforcement against fouling would help the council’s Green and Clean Strategy.
Consultation before any new orders are issued will also look at introducing an offence of “Failing to Carry the Means to Pick Up” as well as the limit to the length of leads in all cemeteries to 1.5metres due to concerns of a lack of control over dogs on flexi leads.
A meeting of the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee agreed to the consultation, with the suggestion that all bins could take waste rather than just dog muck containers.
Councillor Kevin Cranney told the meeting: “This is a big issue when I talk to residents on the street.
“One of my concerns is that owners picking up but then leaving the bags and that is causing a bigger problem.
“Our leader has said we have more dog waste bins than Greater Manchester and we need that promoting.
“Why don’t we get rid of the dog bins and make them waste bins because that encourages people?
“At the moment, the dog bins in some areas, the bags and the fouling, it’s shocking.”
Scores of penalty notices issued as council receives around 150 complaints a year
The council says it receives around 150 complaints about fouling each year, but that taking action can be difficult because the act of allowing a dog to foul and a failure for the walker to clear up the mess has to be seen by an authorised officer for a fine to be issued.
Between April last year 2016 and the end of March this year, 125 fixed penalty tickets were issued, with 41 of those for allowing a dog to enter an exclusion area, 31 for fouling and 51 for letting a dog off a lead in an area where it was banned.
The council has said reports from residents are often too vague for action to be taken, but carries out dawn and dusk patrols, identifies hot spot areas, puts up warning signs and makes regular visits to complainants and makes referrals to the cleansing team.
It has also installed more than 40 dog waste bag dispensers at 20 locations across the town.