New dog control orders are being drawn up by a Cheshire Borough Council to bring dogs and their owners in line.
These could include fines or other penalties for failing to scoop poop, letting dogs off leads, or taking too many dogs out at once. However, the environment committee is split on how far these measure should go, particularly when it comes to keeping dogs on a lead in public places.
Macclesfield Councillor Janet Jackson said: “I feel that dogs should be kept on a lead at all times.
In the countryside, I have seen incidents of sheep being harried by dogs, and I have seen it in farm yards with chickens. They get excited by what ever is running around so I feel that people should keep their dogs on leads at all times so I would be in favour of that myself.”
But Councillor Diana Thompson leapt to the defence, saying: “As to keeping dogs on leads at all times I think that is a bit draconian. We take dogs into our homes but they still like to roam free when they can and I think it would be wrong to deny them that.”
But there was a consensus that they should take the opportunity to ban dogs from children’s play areas.
Councillor Vivien Davies, chairman, said: “It is important to stress that on the whole, the majority of people are excellent with dogs, there are just one or two who spoil it.”
The debate comes as councillors discussed the new powers handed down from the government under the Clean Neighbourhoods Act. This will allow the council to update historic dog fouling byelaws, which date back to 1938. It provides for five dog related offences to be created and enforced by local authorities, but only if they can be proved to be necessary.
Councillors and officers must decide which orders are necessary and enforceable and make it clear to the public when they are introduced. Dog owners could also be committing offences is they do not put their dog on a lead when instructed to do so by an authorised officer.
DEFRA guidelines consider one person can handle six dogs.