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Devizes dog owners warned over dog mess fines
8:57am Friday 23rd August 2013 in News
Dog owners are being warned that if they let their dog off its lead in Hillworth Park they could receive a fine of £75.
Devizes Town Council has adopted a Dog Control Order for the park as it says it has received complaints from families concerned about dogs worrying children playing in the park.
Deputy town clerk Simon Fisher said the Dog Control Order was not a money making exercise and hoped staff would never have to issue one.
He said: “We are not looking to make any money out of this, it is about getting people to put dogs on leads.The council decided that it wasn’t appropriate for dogs to roam free in the park.
It’s predominantly a play area for families to meet and kids to play on the grass. We have a dog fouling problem that is exacerbated by dogs not on leads. It’s much more difficult to monitor what your dog is doing when it’s not on a lead.”
A petition against the Dog Control Order was signed by 65 people but the town council’s recreation and properties committee went ahead with the order.
The Dog Control Order comes into effect on September 6 and new signs are going up in Hillworth Park. There are no plans to extend the order to other parks owned by the town council.
Mr Fisher said: “We are not anti-dog and it wasn’t a decision we took lightly. We don’t want to stop people with dogs coming into Hillworth Park but they have to put their dogs on leads. The order allows dogs to be on a two metre lead so people with a flexi lead can still use them to give their dog some freedom. For owners who want to let their dog off the lead there are other places nearby where they can go such as Hartmoor Road and Drews Pond Wood.”
Mr Fisher said staff who see dogs off leads will ask owners to put them on leads but if the request is ignored staff can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £75. People issued a FPN have a certain timescale in which to pay the fine but if not complied with they can be taken to court where the maximum fine is £1,000.
The town council’s staff can also issue FPNs to dog owners who fail to clear up dog mess. Dog fouling is a Wiltshire Council policy and applies anywhere in Devizes, not just Hillworth Park.
Mr Fisher said: “If we never issue a FPN because we don’t have dog fouling and dogs are kept on leads in Hillworth Park that would be the best scenario. Our hope is that people will comply.”
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