Fines of up to £100 could be introduced to tackle the issue of dog fouling and irresponsible ownership in Adur and Worthing.
A public consultation has begun over proposals to fine dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets in public areas.
Adur and Worthing Councils are also asking local residents if there should be a reduction in the amount of dogs allowed to be walked at once, from six to four, and whether the seasonal exclusion zone, which is already in place from Warwick Road to Heene Road in Worthing, should be extended to Marine Gardens in the town.
To extend and amend parts of the current Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) for dogs which are already in place, Adur & Worthing Councils are gathering local responses on this effort to address the small minority of irresponsible dog owners.
Councillor Val Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, said, “All Councillors are very aware of how contentious this topic is, with many local people concerned about it.
“As a Council we want to ensure all local residents have access to our wonderful outdoor spaces, and that we protect our wildlife and environment. However, it is equally important we still support those engaged in dog walking within our business community.”
The current PSPO also offers safety for the public, giving powers to officers to direct dog owners to put their pets on leads in public places. These areas include some seafront promenades, specific memorial sites and nature reserves, where the animal is thought to be out of control or causing alarm and distress.
Councillor David Simmons, Executive Member for Health and Well-Being at Adur District Council, who is himself a dog owner said: “Irresponsible dog owners are always a nuisance, and get all dog owners a bad name. It takes no time at all to pick up after your dog and dispose of the residue safely and has the added benefit of not exposing the wider community to health dangers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned dog owners about the health dangers posed by dog faeces, which are swarming with coliform bacteria. In addition, as a responsible council, we have a duty to protect our community using our valuable open spaces, so it is essential that we all take individual responsibility seriously in this regard in order to maintain a healthy and safe approach.
“In the Adur district, we are already using Public Space Protection Orders to keep some areas dog free, especially those frequented by our very young people. We would welcome your views as to the future extent to which these orders should be used, whether you support the current proposals to increase fines, what suggestions you may have for further controls and what additionally can or should be done to encourage a more responsible attitude on the part of the minority of dog owners.”
Dogs are banned on Worthing beach from 1st May until 30th September
Meanwhile, current legislation allows for fines up to £100, whereas in Adur and Worthing the fixed penalty notice is currently £50. Neighbouring authorities such as Arun District Council, Horsham District Council and Brighton & Hove City Council have fines ranging between £75 and £100. It’s hoped increasing the fine could act as more of a deterrent and encourage behavioural change.
Lastly, Professional Dog Walkers’ Guidelines recommend the maximum number of dogs a dog walker is responsible for at any one time, should be 4. Walking dogs, particularly in groups, results in exposure to infections and disease. The Guidelines, drawn up by the RSPCA, Dogs Trusts and Pet Industry Federation aim to ensure high welfare standards in the growing industry of dog walking.
This new consultation aims to discover whether local residents feel reducing the number of dogs currently allowed for dog walkers would reduce dog fouling, and provide more control for dog walkers, while offering improved balance for those within our communities.
The consultation involves completing a short online form, residents are encouraged to share their views, and have until 5pm Friday 6th September to tell the Councils their thoughts