Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Dog Control Orders consultation ends on Friday

The City Council's consultation on its plans to extend Dog Control Orders ends on Friday - and local dog owners are trying to put a stop to some of the proposals.

As we previously reported, the Council is looking to increase dog control measures, replacing and extending powers under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

These powers are intended to help counter problems created by irresponsible dog owners, such as dog fouling, and aggressive or out of control dogs - but some of the proposals, which include increased demands for dogs to be kept on leads, are proving controversial.

Dog owners virtual-lancaster spoke to on the cycle path to Halton this weekend felt the proposal was a bad idea, with some claiming it was penalizing responsible dog owners in favour of cyclists.

Last month, Green Councillor Jon Barry said that if the new dog control orders mean that dogs have to be on lead on all of the district's cycleways then this will blight the lives of many of the responsible dog owners in the district.

He also feels it will also mean that dogs will not get proper exercise and be more likely to be aggressive.

"I am a heavy user of cyclepaths in the district," he explained. "My experience is that the vast majority of dog owners have their dogs under control and are extremely responsible in terms of avoiding conflicts with bikes.

"The current system is not perfect but the majority of the time dogs, dog walkers, cyclists and pedestrians exist well together - the key is that everyone needs to be aware of and have respect for other users."

"If this order is brought in it will mean that responsible dog walkers in places like the Crook O'Lune, Conder Green and many parts of the canal will be forced to not exercise their dogs properly and be punished for the potential activities of a minority."

Many people have welcomed other aspects of the new orders - but feel the restrictions on cycleways seems to be a step too far.

"We need to educate cyclists and dog walkers to behave responsibly rather than imposing these restrictive rule," Jon suggests. "I think that the emphasis should be on dogs being under control rather than on a lead - although if people want to keep their dog on a lead then it is perfectly fine."

"As a cyclist, I would rather that dogs were off-lead than on a flexi-lead. I remember that only a few years ago, a young boy had a serious neck injury after cycling into a flexi-lead." (See news story)

• If you want to have your say, visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/dogcontrolorders for information.  This information is also available at Lancaster and Morecambe Town Halls and local libraries.

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