Tougher dog laws for Dewsbury’s Crow Nest Park

TAKING A LEAD: Dogs could soon have to be reined in while walking in Kirklees parks.
TAKING A LEAD: Dogs could soon have to be reined in while walking in Kirklees parks.

DOGS look set to be banned from school fields and play areas in a crackdown by councillors.

Kirklees Council’s Cabinet this week agreed to push ahead with plans to tighten the rules on dog-walkers.

The new rules will also mean owners could be asked to put dogs on leads in the district’s five main parks, including Crow Nest in Dewsbury and Batley’s Wilton Park. Those who flout the orders face fines of up to £1,000.

Council deputy leader David Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike) said the plans were ‘a reasonable way forward’ at Tuesday’s meetings.

Mark Lockwood of Birstall Victoria RLFC welcomed the move. He said that before every game and training session the club had at White Lee School, officials had to inspect the field with a bucket and shovel.

Councillors were told that dog fouling and other problems are high among concerns raised by residents and seen as a key issue people want to see tackled.

In 2009/10 there were 2,188 complaints about dog fouling and 2,942 in 2010/11. There were also 977 and 946 dangerous dog complaints.

Offences to be covered include: Failure to clear dog fouling with exclusions for such as moorland and agricultural land; dogs to be on leads at all times on all roads and council car parks plus designated areas such as playing fields, allotments and council-maintained cemeteries; power to request dogs to be on a lead in the five main parks if the dog is unruly; dog exclusion areas such as children’s play areas and school grounds.

The council said this will yield more effective control and enable the whole district to be a no-fouling area with ‘fair and reasonable’ exclusions for owners to exercise their dogs.

Each order carries a maximum penalty of £1,000 but offences can be discharged through a fixed penalty of £75 with a £50 discount if paid within seven days.

Coun Sheard said: “It is reasonable to expect people to keep dogs under control in a public place. As a dog owner myself I think people who walk their dogs have to show consideration to those who are frightened of the animals.”

A 28-day public consultation will now take place.