302 complaints about dogs off lead in Christchurch Park

Ipswich council has confirmed orders banning dog fouling. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Borough Council is looking to introduce a public space protection order on dog fouling - Credit: Archant

A new public order covering control of dogs and dog fouling is being planned for Ipswich, as new data reveals hundreds of complaints in the past year.

Data presented to Ipswich Borough Council's executive on Tuesday showed that between March and November 2020 there had been 396 breaches of dog control byelaws, which the council believed was an underrepresentation of actual incidents because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most of those - 369 - were in Christchurch Park, while 302 were around dogs being off leads where they shouldn't be.

There were 72 instances of dogs being in areas they shouldn't be, such as play areas, and 20 occasions relating to dogs attacking wildlife, other dogs, causing damage to property or nuisance behaviour to others in the park.

In addition, dog fouling reports totalled 231 between April 2020 and January 25 this year, the majority of which were reported to the waste services hotline.

The council said it expected the 2020/21 year end figure to be around 285 reports - nearly double what it was in 2017/18 but down on the 371 from 2019/10.

Changes to legislation in park byelaws mean that dog fouling or dog control orders cannot now be included, and must instead be covered by a public space protection order (PSPO) - an order which can be monitored by police and park staff and deliver tougher sanctions for breaches.

The order, which will be in place for three years but can be renewed during that time, can also include requirements on areas where dogs must be kept on leads and designated areas where dogs can be exercised off a lead, as well as dog fouling controls.

Alasdair Ross said it was reviewed every year. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Community protection portfolio holder at Ipswich Borough Council, Alasdair Ross

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Councillor Alasdair Ross, community protection portfolio holder at the council, said: "Because we are changing the park byelaws, it is important that we look to put a public space protection order in covering dogs so that we can cover ourselves with the byelaws being changed, and also cover ourselves throughout the town.

"It's one of the most offensive types of nuisance and anti-social behaviour that affects us not only in our parks but in our streets.

"In our parks in the last year - this is during Covid when restrictions were different - there were 396 breaches of dog control byelaws - that works out at just over one per day, so this is an important issue and this consultation will make sure we have a PSPO in place that will help protect our residents and also protect dog owners themselves."

Ipswich Borough Council's executive gave the green light for a public consultation to run from June 23 for 11 weeks. Responses will then be collated and a report presented back to the executive for a final decision, likely to be later this year.

 Visit the council website from that date to find out more and take part.

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