The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, has given powers to councils to force dog owners to keep their dogs on lead, ban dogs from designated area's and to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) to anyone breaking council rules.
For those of us that have diligently walked our dogs in the dark, cold mornings and evenings throughout winter, and looked forward to the summer months when everything seems to come alive with colour, it seems that some pompous office-bound decision-making suits can now insist that we plod around with our dogs on a one meter lead wherever we go. (I wonder if that applies to those on horseback with a nice pack of hounds out for a romp in the Great British countryside? Yes of course it does, because they have acres of their own ground in which to frolic now don't they!)
Also banned will be the walking of multiple dogs at the same time by one person. If this sounds completely ridiculous, think again because it is already happening. If more councils follow the stand taken by districts such as Carlisle City Council or Hammersmith and Fulham Council then having dogs off lead will be banned outright. I wonder how this will affect the thousands of small dog training clubs and dog obedience schools which regularly use common land on which to train and school their dogs. These people are actively seeking to train dogs, and therefore are making dog owners more responsible and their dogs better behaved, surely preventing this will cause big problems for society and its dogs?
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act
The Act replaces the previous system of byelaws including the “Dogs (Fouling Of Land) Act 1996". The Dog Control Orders stipulate the following offences:
- Failing to remove dog faeces.
- Not keeping a dog on lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer.
- Permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded.
- Taking no more than the specified number of dogs (which a person may take) onto land.
The Dog Control Order is enforceable by District Councils, County Councils which don't have a district council, London Borough Councils, Common Council of the City of London and secondary authorities including Parish Councils.
View the Act in full at:
The following advice is given to councils:
It is important that before a parish council makes a Dog Control Order it is clear on the answers to the following questions:
- Is there a specific problem with dogs on the area of land that is being considered for a Dog Control Order?
- If it is proposed to ban dogs, or require that they should be kept on lead, are there other areas of land in the parish available to dog owners where they can exercise their dogs?
- Is there community support for Dog Control Orders- amongst both the dog owning public and the non dog-owning public?
If you answer ‘Yes' to these questions, then the use of a Dog Control Order is probably appropriate. A dog control order can be made in respect to any land, which is open to the air ‘on at least one side' and that remains open to the air at all times. This includes but is not limited to:
- Village greens
- Playing fields
- Roads, highways and other right of way
- Bus shelters
- Railway Platforms
- Outdoor markets
- Private gardens open to the public
- Farm land
The guidelines do go on to state that if the farm land is privately owned there is no point in making a Dog Control Order if the owner of the land does not support the order. Looks like we will all have to find a friendly dog-loving farmer, though going by the situation this government has put farmers through over the last few years, they have enough problems without dealing with the parish dogs exercising on their fields.
The Order states that a Fixed Penalty Notice rate is set between £50 - £80 (average £75), as an alternative to prosecution BUT councils do NOT have to offer this option. The Order does say that councils have to publish the enforcing of the Dog Control Order in a local newspaper seven days before the Order comes into force.
Councils that have already implemented the Dog Control Order:
- Carlisle City Council
- Cheltenham Borough Council
- East Herts Borough Council
- Gainsborough Town Council
- Hammersmith and Fulham Council
- Ingham Parish Council
- Kerrier District Council
- London Borough of Merton
- Richmond upon Thames
- Wolverhampton Council
Councils currently debating the order are:
Barrow, Bristol City, Camden Council, Crewe and Nantwich, Manchester City Council, North Lincs. Council, North Norfolk Council, North Somerset District Council, Purbeck District Council, Sedgemoor, Stevenage and others.
Fight For Your Dog's Rights
All members of the dog owning public must be ready to protest against the Dog Control Order. Hope is not lost as the dog owning residents of Sandwell, West Midlands discovered when they joined together in protest at their local authorities plans to implement the Dog Control Order. Sandwell Borough Council withdrew the order fearing the bad publicity though only “for the time being.”
Rother District Council are also proposing an Order to enforce all dogs when out in public to be on a one metre lead and banning dogs from beaches altogether. One Rother resident said:
|"I am now dismayed to find my local council is proposing to use Dog Control Orders to introduce draconian new restrictions on dogs.”
Another Rother resident and campaigner, Nick Rosenburg is fighting hard to prevent what he sees as an attack on his “fundamental freedom.”
For many years dog walkers have enjoyed the sheer pleasure of walking their dogs through the ancient forests of the British countryside. This pleasure is also under threat as some authorities would like to see all dogs kept on leads within forests. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 was introduced to create new recreational opportunities for all and states that dogs should be kept under “close control” so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals and wildlife. On open countryside and common land known as “access land” the dog must be kept on a short lead between March 1st and July 31st and when near farm animals. As it stands today dogs DO NOT have to be put on lead in forests outside of the stated dates.
Dog groups such as the New Forest Dog Owners Group have formed to preserve the dog owner's right to walk their dogs off lead within the New Forest and to promote responsible dog ownership. They welcome new members and can be contacted at:
Organisations like this are the life blood of the UK dog-owning public and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their efforts to make the lives of both dogs and dog owners in the UK less stressful by promoting ethical and responsible dog ownership.
Many people are sure that such an extreme interpretation of the Clean Neighbourhoods Act, Section 3 (Dog Control Orders) was not what the government intended. Many seaside towns are desperate to win a “Blue Flag” award for their beaches. To gain the award they feel the banning of dogs is justified. Again it seems that the majority of dog owners are made to suffer because of the minority that do not clean up after their dogs! ALWAYS clean up after your dog does his business and help our reputation amongst society which is clearly deteriorating with the advent of this harsh legislation.
As the only legal requirement for the councils is to publish notification of the enforcement of the Order in the classified section at the back of the local newspaper, dog owners must be on the alert for such a posting.
The Kennel Club UK have formed an action group called, KC DOG to fight for dog owners rights. They will give advice on setting up a protest group and will send a representative to assist. Contact Holly Lee at:
|1-5 Clarges Street
Or email: Hl33@the-kennel-club.org.uk
Some solicitors are of the opinion that the matter of Dog Control Orders are “somewhat complex”. It seems that the enforcing of the order may be contradictory to existing acts such as the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Dog owners must not take a back seat on this issue as this will soon be affecting each and every one of us. As one dog owner said: “Get angry and DO something.”
We will be writing to MPs about this, and we suggest you lobby your local MP with your own feelings on the issue. Speak and Ye Shall Be Heard!
Discuss Dog Control Orders in our Free Dog Discussion Forum