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Council considers new measures to promote responsible dog ownership

by Jonathan Kearney

Knowsley Council is considering new measures to strengthen its commitment to ensuring responsible dog ownership across the borough.

The Council already works closely with Merseyside Police and other key partners, including Dogs Trust, to promote responsible dog ownership and to take action against illegal dog breeders or owners whose activities are having a detrimental impact on the local community.

However, after growing concerns about the potential dangers of some dog breeds and an increasing number of dog attacks nationally, the Council is considering expanding its existing Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)* which was initially introduced in 2014.

The current PSPO requires people in charge of dogs to:

  • Always carry a bag or other means of cleaning up after your dog at all times and dispose of in the nearest bin.
  • Keep your dog on a lead at all times in council-owned cemeteries, allotments and golf courses.
  • Don’t take your dog into enclosed children’s play areas, games areas or areas used for sport and leisure.
  • Remove your dog’s mess if it fouls.
  • Put your dog on a lead if instructed to do so by an authorised officer.

Anyone found guilty of breaching the order is liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £1,000.

In order to strengthen its commitment to keeping communities safe from harm, the Council is looking to expand the current Order, which expires in March 2024, to include new measures, which may include:

  • An extension of the requirement for dogs to be on a lead in certain areas, e.g. town centres, certain parks and green spaces, all roads, pavements, footpaths and alleyways etc.
  • Exclusion of dogs from school playing fields etc
  • A maximum number of dogs to be exercised at one time.

The issue was discussed at the Stronger Communities Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 26 September.

Key stakeholders, including Merseyside Police, Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, relevant community representatives such as Dogs Trust and relevant land owners will be consulted on the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee, before a revised draft Order is presented to Cabinet in early 2024.

If approved, the updated Order will be publicised for a period of time before it comes into effect in March 2024.

You can find some useful information about responsible dog ownership here.