Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 20TH MAY, 2013
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 16TH APRIL, 2013
â€œ CONSIDERATION TO BAN DOGS FROM VALE PLAY AREAS –
Councillor R.J. Bertin had submitted a request for consideration for a report to consider proposals to prohibit dogs from entering children’s play areas across the Vale of Glamorgan. Full details of the request were included within the agenda.
In presenting his request Councillor Bertin stated that many members of the public had been eager for a debate to take place on the matter and that in view of the fact the Council could now make its own dog control orders due to changes in recent legislation, he asked for the Committees support for a review of the issue to be undertaken. Councillor Bertin had also advised the public of his intentions in respect of the request via the local press and a number of responses had been received from residents which were attached at Appendix B to the report.
The Director of Visible Services and Housing in referring to the report advised that in 2001 the Vale of Glamorgan Bye-Laws for â€œDog Ban, The Removal of Faeces and Dogs on Leads for Public Walks, Pleasure Grounds and Open Spacesâ€ had been sealed and confirmed by the National Assembly for Wales. This had enabled the Council to ban dogs from a number of sites in the Vale which were listed at Appendix A to the report. To date, enforcement of the Dog Ban Bye-Law had only been advisory with no fines issued or prosecutions progressed. However, recently, â€œDog Control Ordersâ€ had replaced the previous system of bye-laws for the control of dogs and also the penalties, fines, etc. under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 as this Act was repealed by the â€œClean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005â€. However, the bye-laws that had previously been made by the Council remained in force indefinitely and could continue to be enforced as normal.
Under the legislation it was now possible for all local authorities to make a Dog Control Order to provide controls on the handling and behaviour of dogs on areas of land within their authority. The Director further highlighted that over recent years the Council had acquired a number of new parks and open spaces but these new areas were not covered by the existing bye-laws and therefore some consideration needed to be given to regulating various activities on these sites, including dog control.
There were a number of options open to the Council. One option was that the Council could consider introducing Dog Control Orders just in respect of dog exclusion in relation to play areas within parks and open spaces throughout the county. This would mean that there would be the existing Dog Bye-laws and a series of Dog Control Orders operating side by side.
An alternative option would be to consider revoking the existing Dog Bye-laws and introducing new Dog Control Orders which could cover failing to remove dog faeces; not keeping a dog on a lead; not putting, and keeping, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer; permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded during certain times or permanently; and taking more than the specified number of dogs onto land. Once introduced, the Council might seek to prosecute dog control offences, and a fine of up to level three on the standard scale (currently £1,000) may be given upon conviction. Alternatively fixed penalty notices could be given to suspected offenders, giving them the opportunity to discharge liability for the offence.
The Director suggested that in view of the above officers should consider the matter in greater detail and provide a report to Cabinet, in the near future, detailing the various options available. Members views were also requested to assist in this process. At this point reference was also made to the service plan and action plan that were to be dealt with later in the agenda it being noted that £10,000 had been set aside in the plan to consider a review of bye-laws. It was the general consensus of opinion to support the Request for Consideration as Members agreed that it was essential to address the issue specifically in children’s play areas. The Cabinet Member, who was also present and granted permission to speak, reiterated Members’ concerns and advised that he fully supported the request. He referred to, in particular, the issues of dog faeces on many sports fields throughout the Vale and the continuing need to advise people of the problems that could be caused to users by walking dogs in these areas.
In summation Councillor Bertin reiterated his concerns in relation to children’s play and multi use areas throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.
Following consideration of the report it was subsequently
RECOMMENDED – T H A T Cabinet be advised of the Scrutiny Committees support for a more detailed report on options, in respect of the above, and the possible introduction of Dog Control Orders, to be submitted to Cabinet, in the near future.
Reason for recommendation
To enable Cabinet to consider the introduction of further mechanisms to control anti social activities by dog owners in parks and open spaces and to further consider improving enforcement methods.â€
Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 16th April 2013