Loose dogs being walked in the Byes, Sidmouth, have caused alarm and distress to members of the public

East Devon District Council has recently been contacted several times by members of the public reporting problems caused by dogs being exercised without lead restraint in The Byes, Sidmouth. 

From the information received, it appears that the dogs in question are not sufficiently well trained to be walked safely without a lead. In one incident, on Christmas Day, a person walking two large dogs behind Sidmouth College was unable to prevent them jumping up and frightening a girl walking with her family. 

On Christmas Eve, a local resident reported that an Alsatian in an orange coat jumped a high fence into a garden, while chasing squirrels.  In a third incident, a member of the public reported that two off-lead Tibetan terriers had pestered other dogs being walked on the lead, and that this had happened on several occasions previously. In all cases, the dog owners claimed that their dogs were just being friendly.

The council views the issue of dogs being a nuisance (whether to other dogs or humans) very seriously and would like to remind all dog owners that it is their responsibility to keep their dogs well trained and under close control away from other people – as they need to be aware that some children and adults do not welcome the uninvited attention of dogs.  They must also ensure that their dogs do not enter private land uninvited. 

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the Environment, said:

“The council appreciates that many people walk dogs on The Byes and elsewhere, but these open spaces are also used by other people who do not have dogs, or may be wary of them for various reasons.  All dog owners are therefore reminded to be responsible, to consider other people using the public open spaces and to keep their dogs on a lead and under close control. Speaking as a dog owner of many years, all dog owners have a responsibility to ensure that their dogs do not interfere with the enjoyment of our lovely open spaces by those who do not have dogs.”

Christopher Holland, Town Clerk of Sidmouth Town Council says that the town council fully endorses the measures being taken by East Devon: “We are concerned about these issues, where dog owners are allowing their animals to be a nuisance to others and we fully support the action that the district council is taking.”

All incidents reported to East Devon’s Environmental Health service are logged and, wherever it is possible to do so, the council likes to encourage dog owners to remember that not everyone feels the same way about their dog’s behaviour as they might do. The council prefers to be able to speak to these dog owners directly, but this does of course depend on whether members of the public are able to identify offending dog owners.

If anyone wishes to report an incident please contact East Devon District Council’s Environmental Health team on 01395 516551 or email environmentalhealth@eastdevon.gov.uk. Please remember to include full details of the incident, a description of the dog(s) and their owners and as much other information as possible to help Environmental Health officers to identify - and therefore contact - the people responsible. For further information about East Devon District Council’ policy on dogs, please visit the dogs pages on the East Devon website.