We need your views on controlling dogs in public spaces

Published: Friday, 15 May, 2020

Everyone who uses canal towpaths and cycle tracks in the Stroud district is being asked for their views on keeping dogs on leads.

Stroud District Council wants the public’s views on a proposed change which would mean dogs would still have to be under control but not necessarily on a lead in these two areas.

Since 2017, Stroud District Council has used four Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to assist in control of dogs. These PSPOs must be reviewed every 3 years and, as part of that review, a public consultation is to be carried out.

Currently, the four PSPOs require dog owners to:

  1. Pick up dog faeces
  2.  Put dogs on leads when directed to do so by an officer
  3. Keep dogs out of areas signed as exclusion areas, e.g. children’s play areas
  4. Keep dogs on leads in designated areas such as allotments, cemeteries, car parks, canal towpaths and designated cycle tracks.

Stroud District Council proposes to extend the use of the PSPOs for a further three years, the maximum period allowed, from October 2020.

It is proposed to leave the first three Orders unchanged but to make one change to the fourth Order by removing canal towpaths and designated cycle tracks from the designated areas.

Enforcement of the Order as it stands shows some dog owners feel it is unfair to put their pets on a lead in a shared space when they are already under proper control.

Exercising off the lead is accepted as an important benefit for dogs and the requirement for dogs to be on leads on a cycle track or towpath provided for leisure and recreation is perceived as disproportionately prohibitive.

Serious uncontrolled behaviour, where identified, could still be addressed in other ways, for example by utilising the Order two directing that dogs be put on a lead. This, allied to the fact that few complaints are received in this regard, appears to represent a proportionate and targeted approach to the issue.

SDC Environment Committee chair, Cllr Simon Pickering said:

“It is hoped that the proposed retention of Orders to address dog fouling, to give officers the power to direct that dogs be put on leads and to exclude dogs from signed areas represents a relatively uncontroversial, common sense approach to these issues.

“However, it is acknowledged that the proposed changes to the “dogs on leads” order is likely to create a range of views and thus it is vital that we are able to gauge opinion on this matter prior to any final decisions being made. As someone who regularly cycles along the canal towpath and cycle track, in my experience the key is whether a dog is under control, whether it is on a lead or not, and so I can see both sides of the argument. Consequently, I would please urge anyone with experience, evidence and opinions on any of these matters to submit a formal consultation response.” 

The consultation period will end on 13th July 2020 and full details on how to respond via e-mail or letter are at www.stroud.gov.uk/PSPOs

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