Guide Viewpoint Surveys 2016

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5. Dogs questions results and feedback

In this year’s survey we specifically incorporated a section relating to dogs to assist our environmental health service in planning for their service provision in this important area.

  • 77% of respondents did not have a dog in their household, 23% had one or more dogs.
  • 38% noticed dog poo left on the ground in public areas often or always, 29% noticed it never or rarely.
  • 87% would support a proposal to require all dogs to be kept on a lead on all roads and pavements in East Devon.
  • 62% think we should keep the same level of dog controls, 34% think we should have more dog controls and 4% think we should have less.

Comments about dogs

  • Of those that said we should have more dog controls the majority stated that there should be proper enforcement of the controls already in place or there should be more dog wardens or more visible dog wardens. Some also suggested a reduction in the amount of dogs people can walk at once.
  • 13 residents commented that beaches and promenades should be made more accessible to dogs in various ways.

Our response: We have been working closely with Town and Parish Council’s considering whether the current regime of dog controls is appropriate in their area. There is inevitably going to be a range of views in any community but it seems that the current balance of restrictions and freedoms is already delivering a reasonable compromise. We will shortly be consulting on some minor changes to the East Devon Orders and specific comments will be duly considered.

  • 96 residents’ comments included that they felt there should be proper enforcement of the controls already in place or that there should be more dog wardens or more visibility of dog wardens.

Our response: We agree that the controls already in place should be complied with but because we do genuinely enjoy a very high level of compliance most of the time in most parts of East Devon, we consider that promoting responsible dog ownership is now a more effective use of Council resources than deploying dog wardens on patrol.

However we are always encouraging people living in our communities to come forward with intelligence and evidence of any offences committed in their areas. We have a range of powers to conduct intensive targeted campaigns and investigations of our own (where appropriate) and to take action based on reliable third party evidence. We believe that the current controls are being enforced in a reasonable, transparent and proportionate manner.

  • Some 36 residents said that dog walkers should have the numbers of dogs that they walk at anyone time reduced and that dogs should be kept on leads in all public areas.
  • 27 residents commented that they thought dogs should be banned from beaches all year round and that there should be more prominent signage stating the dog controls for a particular area.

Our response: The current regime does represent a reasonable compromise for everyone but we acknowledge that there are additional areas where it may be appropriate to keep dogs on leads and we will shortly be consulting on a proposal for additional controls for dogs on leads.

We do however believe that the seasonal beach ban continues to represent a fair and reasonable compromise and have no plans for introducing significant changes in this respect. We acknowledge that signage could be more prominent but we are equally conscious that too much signage can spoil the appearance of our beautiful beaches and esplanades. We have worked hard over the last couple of years to ensure that all restrictions are properly signed and we are confident that responsible dog owners will have no difficulty in working out where (and when) their dog will be welcome and where (and when) it needs to avoid.