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Council consult on further no go areas to prevent dog fouling

A CONSULTATION has been launched on the potential for further “no go” areas for canines in a bid to combat dog fouling.

Gwynedd Council’s cabinet has unanimously backed the public exercise which will gauge local opinion, with options including the potential for further restrictions on dogs at certain beaches and other public places.

Addressing Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, the portfolio holder acknowledged the need for regulations that respected the varying opinions relating to the animals, but added that a “small minority” of their owners were not being responsible.

Cllr Catrin Wager, the cabinet member for Highways and Municipal matters, went on to say: “Having dog mess on our streets is not acceptable, we’ve run various campaigns to try and reduce incidents of fouling on our streets and have also been providing free dog waste bags.

“But sadly a small minority refuse to adhere and while we have regulations already in place, restricting dogs from play areas and school facilities for some time.

“Where further restrictions may be needed, however, are some of our beaches and requests have been made to expand the footprint of existing seasonal dog control areas at Tywyn, Fairbourne and Porthor, and another to not seasonally restrict dogs at one of Criccieth’s beaches.”

But the report also noted that a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) would allow the authority to redefine and manage the dog control behaviours “in accordance with what is genuinely causing anti-social problems in the county.”

If approved on a county-wide basis, it would allow the exclusion of dogs from specific areas at specific times of the year, the prohibition of fouling of land by dogs and making it mandatory to keep dogs on a lead in specific areas if instructed to do so by an authorised officer.

Failure to comply with these requirements could land a fixed penalty notice of £100, if approved.

Cllr Wager concluded: “The consultation won’t only be about dog fouling, we will also want to hear people’s views about areas where dogs have or should be restricted, such as school grounds, children’s play areas and certain beaches.

“I know that people have strong feelings about dog fouling and dog restrictions, and I’d encourage local residents to share those views with us – if you own a dog or not – to help us ensure that the new arrangements meet local needs.”

In response to a question by Cllr Ioan Thomas, who said that “many residents seem to be genuinely concerned about dog fouling,” it was noted that the new report based on the findings of the consultation would be published by July.

Cllr Gareth Thomas added: “I’m sure that every member is aware of concerns in their communities about this, but I’d appeal on dog owners to not only use plastic bags but to also rid them in an appropriate way.

“One of the biggest issues is these bags being left behind, which can often make the situation worse.”

Cllr Cemlyn Williams said: “I think this sends a clear message out there that we are taking this issue seriously and acknowledging there is a problem.”

The cabinet unanumously approved the launching of a public consultation, which is set to get underway on Monday (May 24).

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