We introduced Dog Control Orders under section 55 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. The orders were made on 12th December 2007 and came into force on 7th January 2008.
The Dog Control Orders are considered necessary and proportionate to local circumstances and replace the previous system of byelaws and orders for the control of dogs and also the designations made under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, which has been repealed.
The land to which the Dog Control Orders apply is specified within the schedule to each of the orders which can be viewed by following the links detailed below.
The effect of the orders is that any person in charge of a dog on land covered by a Dog Fouling Control Order must clean up any faeces deposited by the dog. Dogs must be kept on a lead in defined areas of the Borough, and dogs are banned from certain sensitive areas of the Borough such as children's play areas. Authorised officers will also be able to direct any person in charge of a dog on land covered by a 'Dogs on Leads by Direction Order' to put and keep a dog on a lead where such restraint is considered to be reasonably necessary.
Swale Borough Council intends to issue fixed penalty notices to enforce the proposed dog control orders above as prescribed by Section 59 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. The payment would be £80. Failure to pay the fixed penalty may result in prosecution.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (CNEA) gave Local Authorities new powers to deal with the control of dogs and other environmental issues such as fly-posting, graffiti and fly-tipping by way of fixed penalty notices. We have been gradually developing our policies regarding our approach to this new way of working before considering making a dog control order. The Dogs Fouling of Land Act already covers dog fouling (with some restrictions) so we have had less reason to rush into implementing the new legislation (despite the fact that this legislation has since been repealed). We have been keen to investigate this legislation, and are happy to be the first authority in Kent to use these orders.
A dog control order is an optional control measure for controlling some potential dog related issues. The power to create dog control orders is provided under the legislation that came into force in 2006. Dog control orders made under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 replace the previous system of Byelaws for the control of dogs and also the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, which has been repealed (cancelled), although existing Orders remain in force until replaced. If the local authority does not make dog control orders there is the option for District, Parish or Town Councils to make the orders.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 was introduced to tackle low level environmental crime and nuisance such as the control of dogs, litter and fly-posting. It seeks to give communities the power to control these problems and enables Councils to carry out enforcement in a quick and efficient manner by issuing fixed penalty notices.
The Dogs Fouling of Land Act has some limitations as to areas that are covered for dog fouling. It does not address issues such as prohibiting dogs from sensitive sites such as children's play areas, or whether dogs can be required to be kept on leads in certain places e.g cemeteries. The Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005 allow Councils to determine the extent of any dog control order to meet local requirements and circumstances. The Council needs to balance the needs of those in charge of dogs against the interests of those affected by the activities of dogs, bearing in mind the need for people, in particular children to have access to dog free areas, and areas where dogs are kept under control.
The Dogs Fouling of Land Act has some limitations as mentioned above. It also does not cover fouling in certain areas, allow local authorities to ban dogs from certain areas or have areas where dogs must be kept on a lead. If a dog control order is made, then the Council can determine fine levels, and the most appropriate control measures for different areas. Owning a dog can bring great happiness but also places a life long responsibility on the owner to ensure that the dog is not a hazard, a health risk, or a nuisance to other members of our society. Unfortunately too many owners do not take a responsible attitude towards dog ownership and as a result the council receives a high number of complaints each year covering a range of issues such as noise nuisance from barking, uncollected dog faeces, and uncontrolled dogs terrorizing young children.
Dogs Waste bins will be considered separately and independently. At present it is possible to use:
Swale Borough Council 'Animal Control Officers' will enforce the orders. Swale Borough Council Street Wardens, and Police Community Support officers will also be able to enforce the dog fouling orders. If there are particular problems in a locality then officers will target that area.
The great advantage of making a dog control order is that enforcement should be much easier, by serving fixed penalty notices to the small minority of dog owners who ignore the existing laws. We are not an authority which aims to issue large numbers of fixed penalty notices. Our preferred and current approach is to encourage responsible behaviour, and educate people. However, we will issue Fixed Penalty Notices where this guidance is not adhered to.