Tackling responsible dog ownership in Teignbridge

As of 1st April 2019, Teignbridge District Council implemented a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in relation to our responsibility as dog owners. A PSPO can be introduced by Local Authorities where they feel it is necessary to protect the quality of life for their residents, where they feel a particular nuisance occurs bringing a detrimental effect to the area. PSPO’s can vary between different Local Authorities, and even when they relate to the same nuisance, the extent of the PSPO can be different.

Teignbridge had been looking into implementing an Order in relation to ensuring responsible dog ownership in order to provide a clean and safe environment for the area. Work began in 2016 with public consultation in 2017. The PSPO was then fully adopted on 14 January 2019.

The changes created by the PSPO

The PSPO has created various changes that all dog owners should be aware of and comply with, as follows:-

  • keep your dog on a lead when walking next to a road, on footpaths next to the road or on cyclepaths. This is seen as important to help reduce the risk of injury or death occurring, should your dog run into the road where there is oncoming traffic, into the path of cyclists, and even other dogs or individuals where they are not comfortable in having dogs approach them, where they are not controlled.
  • limit the amount of dogs you have with you to a maximum of six. The original view was to limit the amount of dogs to four but was increased prior to the PSPO coming into force. This limit also applies to professional dog walkers
  • not walk your dog on some beaches from 1 April to 30 September. You should check Teignbridge District Council’s website for which beaches this applies to, however, it is still the case that the beaches at The Ness and Holcombe remain dog friendly all year round.
  • keep your dog out of areas signed as dog exclusion areas (for example, children’s play parks)
  • keep your dog on a lead in certain areas
  • where a dog is being a nuisance or annoying to people or other animals, you must put your dog on a lead if asked to do so by a council officer or police officer
  • pick up after your dog in public places. You do not need to just use dog bins, any public bins can be used to dispose of the waste.
  • you must carry sufficient dog poo bags. Even where you have used your dog bag before being stopped by an enforcement officer, this is not a defence. You should therefore ensure that you carry with you more bags than are normally necessary for your dog(s).

How will the Order be enforced?

The Council have a team of enforcement officers who will be routinely patrolling hot spot areas within Teignbridge, where it is known for prolific offending. However, any member of the public can report an offender to the Council to enable them to investigate further.

Sanctions under the PSPO

The sanctions under the PSPO are civil sanctions.

If caught breaching the PSPO, you can receive an on the spot fine of £100, also known as a fixed penalty notice. However, where the breach of the Order is seen as more serious, you could face prosecution in Court, with a fine of up to £1,000.

It should be noted that the PSPO does not apply to assistance dogs used by people who are partially sighted, or by those who are registered as disabled and lack the physical ability to comply with the requirements of the PSPO.

Full details, including how to report a breach, are contained within Teignbridge District Council’s website, www.teignbridge.gov.uk/dogpspo and also the Council’s Facebook Page.

 

For further information, please contact Sam Thompson on 01626 202398 or email samthompson@wbw.co.uk. WBW Solicitors has offices in Newton Abbot, Exeter, Torquay, Paignton, Bovey Tracey, Launceston, Honiton, Exmouth and Sidmouth.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.