New rules put dogs – and their owners – on the leash

DOG owners will have to control their pets in more places than ever before under new restrictions brought in this week.

In an attempt to reduce the problem of dog fouling, council leaders have agreed to introduce five control orders which will ban dogs from 60 fenced play areas.

They will have to be on leads on 55 unfenced play areas such as Clifton Recreation, Oaklands, Rastrick, and The Stray at Lightcliffe. They should be on leads on 36 council allotments including several in the Brighouse area, school grounds and cemeteries.

Dogs must be on leads in public car parks and on all roadside pavements, paths and verges.

A plan to exclude pets from moorland, woodland and Forestry Commission land has been dropped, following public consultation.

But Calderdale Council Cabinet has agreed that dogs must be on leads on 26 parks and recreation grounds, local nature reserves, such as Shibden Park where they are seen to be causing a nuisance.

That also applies to 24 sites of special scientific interest and sites of ecological or geological interest, such as canal towpaths, Hardcastle Crags and Ogden reservoir woodland and cloughs.

The orders have already been causing some conflicts especially at Wellholme Park, Brighouse.

Barbara Green, who lives at Clifton and is a dog owner herself, claims one woman was confronted by a dog warden she says was hiding in the trees which border one side of the park.

But a council spokeswoman said a dog warden was on a routine patrol when he saw a dog fouling and the owner failed to remove it. A £50 fine was issued to the person.

And it is also believed that a dog warden was threatened in the same week by the owner of a dog.

Signs will be put up on and around every site so that owners know exactly what is expected of them, said the council’s environment spokesman Coun Barry Collins.

And the number of dog bins will be increased and the enforcement measures strengthened. The cabinet will also beef up its efforts to prevent users such as football and rugby clubs littering sports grounds and recreation areas which they hire from the council.

Just under 900 people took part in the council’s consultation process on the planned control orders.