Tighter controls for dog owners in East Devon

Council hopes to encourage more responsible dog ownership in East Devon with new Public Space Protection Order

Following extensive public consultation between December 2016 and January 2017, councillors at East Devon District Council have approved new measures, in the form of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), to encourage more responsible dog ownership across the district.

The new PSPO, which incorporates tighter dog controls was approved, together with a PSPO relating to a ban on the feeding of seagulls on seashores and promenades, by the council’s Cabinet on 26 April 2017 and both PSPOs will be enforced by council officers while they are out and about in the local community.

The introduction of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 required East Devon District Council, together with all other district councils, to review its dog controls by 2017 and the council decided to do this by introducing a PSPO and at the same time used this as an opportunity to make some changes to the previous dog control orders, which the PSPO was replacing. The council has listened to the views and concerns of the local community and Town/Parish Councils and their feedback is reflected in the new PSPO.

One major new provision in the PSPO is that dogs must be kept on leads on roads and pavements. This will ensure that they are under more control around traffic and if they come into contact with other members of the public or dogs using the roads and pavements.

The existing controls transferred into the new orders, with some minor improvements, are:

• No dogs are allowed in any council maintained children’s play areas and some other play areas and playing fields

• All dog owners must always pick up after their dogs wherever they walk in public places

• Dogs must be kept on leads on most formal garden areas, in some playing fields and on the walkways next to East Devon beaches

• Dogs are not allowed on the main areas of the town beaches of Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Beer and Seaton during the summer. However, the ban on dogs at Beer is for the smaller West beach, while the main area of Beer beach is now subject to a new dogs on lead restriction

• Dog walkers are not allowed to be in control of more than six dogs at one time and they must put their dogs on a lead if asked to do so

Although council officers in the environmental health team respond to enquiries and complaints about dogs, members of the public can also provide information about problems caused if these orders are not complied with.  Any enforcement will be proportionate and will focus primarily on advice and education, although fixed penalties of £80 will be issued in all cases where there is sufficient evidence of harm and consequence.

Commenting on the new PSPO for dogs, East Devon’s Chief Executive, said:

We feel strongly that it is important to encourage responsible dog ownership across East Devon, because badly behaved dogs can seriously impact on the pleasure of other people while they are trying to enjoy the wonderful countryside and coastal amenities offered by East Devon.

If we hadn’t introduced this new dog PSPO, then the old dog control order would simply have become a PSPO by default with no opportunity to make any improvements or amendments.

Further information and advice about how to inform the council of dog related incidents that contravene the new PSPO is available on the East Devon website.