What is a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)?
A PSPO is a new power available under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
An order can be used to control certain activities in a specified area if two conditions are met:
- That the activities have had, or are likely to have, a negative impact on those in the area or neighbourhood
- That the effect is, or is likely to be, persistent, continuous and is, or is likely to, make those activities unreasonable and that restrictions are justified
We believe by introducing a PSPO for dog controls we can use the new powers available to us to encourage responsible dog ownership.
This will also help us maintain the standards we enjoy by:
- Reducing the number of dog fouling incidents across the borough
- Enabling authorised council officers to request that dogs are placed on leads making fenced-off play areas safe and welcoming for children to enjoy
- Improving the local community, environment, and health and wellbeing for all
What’s the ‘Maximum of Six Dogs’ rule?
We’ve identified a number of well-used locations where we consider that a person should not exercise more than six dogs. We consider that if a person has more than six dogs they will not be able to keep them all under proper control. The risk that they will not notice, or be able to remove, fouling increases. It is more likely that larger groups of dogs will behave as a pack. Other park users – walkers, family groups, runners, cyclists etc. often report feeling intimidated by groups of dogs. There is no obligation for dogs to be on a lead unless they are in an area where dogs on lead requirement specifically apply.
Locations where controls will apply:
- Apedale County Park
- Bateswood County Park
- Bathpool Park
- Clough Hall Park
- Silverdale Community Park
- Lyme Valley Parkway
- Birchenwood County Park
What’s the ‘Means to Pick Up Dog Fouling’ rule?
Anyone walking a dog in a public place is obliged to remove the dog’s excrement if it fouls. This control requires dog owners to prove, if requested to do so, that they have a bag with them so are able to pick up if they need to do so. We strongly recommend that dog walkers always carry a stock of bags and have spares which they can share with other dog walkers.
What if I’m asked to show a dog poo bag and I refuse? Do Council officers have powers of stop and search?
Officers have no powers of stop and search, but it is an offence to fail to produce a bag or other means for picking up after your dog when asked by an authorised officer. The officer will ask for your name and address and issue a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £100 if you refuse or are unable to produce a bag. It is a criminal offence to obstruct an authorised officer in their duty.
Where does ‘the requirement to pick up after my dog’ apply?
Any land which is “open to the air and to which the public have access” is covered by the PSPO. This includes: parks and open spaces, on the footpath, road, bridleways or any other area which someone else could reasonably be expected to access. Your own private front or back garden is not covered but outdoor communal areas, for example, around flats are.
What is the fine?
You can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for £100 if you break the rules. If you don’t pay the penalty within 14 days you can be prosecuted. A magistrate can give a fine of up to £1,000. It is a criminal offence to obstruct an authorised officer in their duty.
What happens if I don’t pay the penalty or obstruct an officer?
If a penalty remains unpaid, or an officer is obstructed – for example because the offender refuses to give their name and address, the matter can be referred to the courts. A magistrate can give a fine of up to £1,000. It is a criminal offence to obstruct an authorised officer in their duty
How will it be enforced?
The council’s current Dog Control Orders are enforced by its dog wardens. We anticipate that they will continue to enforce dog control PSPOs, but expect there may also be support from Staffordshire Police’s PCSOs
I use an assistance dog, do the same rules apply?
The new rules do not apply to assistance dogs used by the blind or by anyone registered as disabled who lacks the physical ability to comply with the requirements of the PSPO.
Are there any other changes?
To keep things simple our controls apply in specific areas - for example dogs are excluded from every tennis court, and must be on a lead on all sports pitches. As some of our public spaces change we may relax the normal rules at certain locations - for example if an area is no longer used for sports. If the normal rules have been relaxed we’ll make this clear with a new Dogs Allowed sign. You’ll still be obliged to pick up if your dog fouls, and must make sure you have bags with you, but dog exclusions or a requirement for dogs to be on leads do not apply here.
Will the rules change again?
The law requires that PSPOs are reviewed at least every three years to ensure that the controls remain valid or can be updated.
How do I report problems?
Please contact the council by calling 01782 717717 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated 23 October 2017