CONSULTATION OVER whether dog control orders should be enforced in a Wiltshire town has been met with a positive response from residents, according to the cabinet member behind the proposals.
Councillor David Wren, Swindon Council's cabinet member for local environment, said the council had received plenty of feedback from an initial consultation in the town centre.
Swindon is one of many town councils considering the introduction of stricter dog control measures through legislation allowing it to do so under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.
Councillor Wren said: ‘I was in the town centre on our stall and there were a good number of people who were coming up to us asking questions and filling in our questionnaires. From my experience talking to people the overwhelming feedback has been one of support for what we are doing. I think most people understand why we do need control orders for dogs.
‘It is not a blanket ban on dogs it is about striking a balance between dog lovers and the needs of the public. There will still be lots of places in town where people can have their dogs off leads.’
As part of the plans being considered by the council, dogs could be banned from children's play areas and bowling greens. Owners could also be forced to keep their pets on a leash in most of the town's parks. There would be penalties imposed on anyone ignoring the rules, starting with an £80 on the spot fine.
Swindon Council is giving members of the public the chance to comment on plans to introduce three new orders to keep dogs on leads, out of fenced areas and force owners to clean up their mess.
The idea was first proposed by Independent Councillor David Glaholm who took a strong line on dog control, saying: ‘I have spoken to people on both sides, but my view is where children are playing dogs should be kept on leads, ‘ he said.
‘I'm not saying dogs should be tied up all the time, but I do think each park needs to be looked at individually.’
The Dogs On Leads order would mean animals must be restrained on all public roads, footpaths and verges. Dogs would also have to be kept on their leads in some of the town's green spaces, including Queen's Park, Penhill Park, the Town Gardens and a designated part of Lydiard Park around the visitors' centre, walled garden, the lake and other areas.
The Fouling Of Land order would force owners to clean up faeces and the Exclusion Of Dogs order would ban dogs from children's play areas, cemeteries, bowling greens, skateboard parks or anywhere with a no dogs' sign.
People breaking the Dog Control Orders would be issued with a £80 fine to be paid within 14 days. Residents in Swindon have until July 6 to make their views on the dog control orders clear.
The results of the consultation will be announced later in the year. The Kennel Club has been responding to all dog control order plans by town councils across the UK, and has been advising the local authorities on reasonable measures of dog control and, in some cases, helping dog owners to organise their response to the local authority’s plans.