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Prom is going to the dogs!

PUBLISHED: 15:33 21 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 March 2010

DOG owners were celebrating today after winning their battle against controversial proposals to make them keep pets on a lead on the prom at Felixstowe.

DOG owners were celebrating today after winning their battle against controversial proposals to make them keep pets on a lead on the prom at Felixstowe.

County councillors decided to drop their plan to ban dogs from wandering along the seafront without leads, after a large number of objections.

Pet owners only had the chance to fight the proposed ban because of a council mix-up more than a decade ago which meant the order had not been implemented.

The order was expected to be imposed as a mere formality in 1988, when dogs were banned from the beach at Felixstowe.

It was said to be necessary, to avoid dogs running on to the beach ban area and fouling the sand.

In 1999, Suffolk Coastal council asked the county council to clarify the advertised level of fines shown on site plates referring to a Control of Dogs Order, understood to have been made in 1988.

The Order could not be traced although a copy of an agreement between the two councils was found. "It was believed that an Order was in place for some 12 years without anyone being prosecuted for not having a dog on a lead (although the vast majority of dogs outside peak times are not restrained). This would tend to indicate that the vast majority of pets are well behaved with responsible owners,'' said a report to councillors.

So it was decided the order would have to be properly made – but when it was advertised it met with a storm of protest from dog walkers.

Many letters were written expressing concerns about the ban and a petition collected by one person in three days had 108 signatures representing 119 dogs.

The council's rights of way and traffic management sub committee decided this week because of the weight of objections to abandon the order.

''On balance it seemed sensible to respect the obvious wishes of the large number of people of all ages who wish to use this safe area to exercise their dogs in a responsible manner and not make the Order,'' said the council.

Felixstowe Town Council wanted the ban and there was very limited support from the public who said it would stop people being frightened by unknown dogs. There was a large increase of dogs on the promenade during the foot-and-mouth crisis.

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