Dog walkers could be slapped with £1,000 fine due to ‘miserable’ new rules

By Staff

New regulations aimed at dog owners are being enforced by a council which wants to protect its residents and visitors following a number of ‘incidents’ and could mean those breaking them face a hefty fine

Pet owners may have to change their habits following an update on rules for dog walkers that aim to control an increase in problems with the animals.

Dangerous dogs have been on the news agenda for some time now and one local council has decided to introduce new regulations on pooches in public places, meaning owners will have to alter their daily routines.

One of the new rules means that there is a limit to how many dogs one person is permitted to take outside. From now on residents in Hastings, East Sussex, are only allowed to walk a maximum of six pooches at any one time and if anyone is found to be in breach of the regulation, they could face a fine of up to £1,000.

Lead councillor for community safety in the seaside town, Glenn Haffenden, explained: “While we know that most dog owners are responsible, there have been a number of dog-related incidents recently.”

In January last year dog walker Natasha Johnston, 28, was mauled to death while taking out a pack of eight pets in a park in Surrey. The RSPCA recommends taking out no more than four of the animals at any one time and says walkers should comply with local authority requirements.

The council is also updating controls on where owners are allowed to walk their pets. During the summer, from 1 April to 30 September, there will be two areas on the beach where dogs are banned completely, while any on the promenade must be kept on a lead.

There are also rules in parks and green spaces in the borough, with no dogs allowed in any water features. These extend to children’s play areas, multi-use games areas, skate parks, tennis courts or bowls greens. Dogs must be on leads at specified times in the parks and there will be signage up on the beach and outside affected areas to let people know about the changes.

If your dog fouls anywhere in the area, owners must pick it up and dispose of it in the bins provided, or again risk an on the spot fine of up to £100 or be prosecuted in court with a fine of up to £1,000.

Councillor Haffenden continued: “These restrictions will help keep residents and visitors safe. I am glad that the PSPO (public space protection order) will mean that anyone who allows a dog to foul and does not pick it up could be fined as I know this is something residents are concerned about.”

While some agreed with the new measures, others weren’t so sure. Posting on local newspaper The Argus’ Facebook page, one wrote: “Dog fouling is horrendous now. Disgusting. Well done Hastings council for clamping down on this vile behaviour.”

Another said: “Although I totally agree who is going to actually enforce this? Good luck with that.” While a third hated the idea: “Rules made up by a miserable group of dog haters. Most owners do have control of their dogs and clear up behind them so another case of the majority being penalised for the actions of a few,” they ranted.

What do you think of the new rules? Let us know in the comments below.

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