Should owners be fined £1,000 for not keeping dogs on leads at the seaside?
- Credit: Su Anderson
Dog owners could face fines of up to £1,000 if they fail to keep their pets on leads in Felixstowe’s seafront parks and gardens.
Suffolk Coastal council is asking the public what it thinks of the idea, which would apply to areas including Martello Park and the award-winning and nationally-important Spa Gardens.
The resort already has rules for the prom and dogs are banned from the beach between the Spa Pavilion and Arwela Road from May 1 to September 30.
Steve Gallant, council cabinet member for community health, said: “This is not about Suffolk Coastal District Council wanting to bring in draconian restrictions on dogs or their owners.
“We are carrying out this consultation in response to local communities asking for additional controls in specific areas to allow everyone to enjoy the amenities.
“Suffolk Coastal is a dog-friendly district and we recognise that most dog owners are incredibly responsible about where they walk their dogs, and cleaning up after their pets. However, the local communities feel there are certain areas where dogs should be controlled and kept on leads.
“We have a legal duty to consider these requests and also consult with the wider public, before making any decision. I would encourage people to take this opportunity to have their say on these draft proposals, so we can make our final decision based on a clear consensus of public opinion.”
The six-week consultation seeks views on a series of new dog control orders contained in Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).
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The orders propose that dogs should be kept on leads within Martello Park, Felixstowe Town Hall Gardens, and Felixstowe Seafront Gardens between Bent Hill and Bath Hill, while dogs would be excluded from the children’s play area inside Langer Park, though not the rest of the park.
In addition, there is a PSPO to keep dogs on leads at Charsfield recreation ground.
The council says the orders are needed to “prevent a detrimental effect on the quality of life” of the users of the areas.
Once made, a PSPO makes it an offence for any person to fail to comply with it. The maximum penalty in the magistrates’ court is £1,000, but the offence may be dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice of £80 issued by the police or a council officer.
The consultation runs until Friday, December 21 and people can give their views via a survey form on Suffolk Coastal’s website, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to PSPO Consultation, c/o Environmental Protection, Suffolk Coastal District Council, East Suffolk House, Station Road, Melton, Suffolk, IP12 1RT.
The council’s cabinet will make a decision in the new year.