Anger at Wadebridge dog ban
DOG-OWNERS in Wadebridge face on-the-spot £80 fines if they are caught not controlling their pets in recreation areas.
The town council has agreed to instigate new dog control orders despite three petitions and letters objecting to the move.
The new ban will come into force in the new year, when six members of the council's staff will be authorised to issue fixed penalty fines to those ignoring the by-law.
Angry dog-owners petitioned the council against the ban, but councillors have now voted to prohibit dogs from entering children's play areas, the tennis courts, the bowling green and the cemetery.
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Further, if an owner is caught with their dog off its lead in Egloshayle or Jubilee playing fields they too will receive an on-the-spot fine or could face court prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.
Wadebridge councillors say they have been forced into toughening up existing by-laws because of the amount of dog mess in recreation areas and other problems that have occurred with dogs off their leads.
Failing to clean up after a dog or not complying with the new order could result in a fine of £80 – reduced to £50 if paid within ten days – or prosecution.
Dogs will still be allowed to be exercised off the lead in Coronation Park, but owners will have to pick up their pets' mess.
The town council says the by-law has actually been in place since 1995, but some owners have ignored it and stiffer action is now required.
Mayor Tony Rush said his council was aware the new fixed penalty notices would not be welcomed by dog-owners.
"Obviously it's not going to please everyone, but I'm afraid it's something we felt had to be done because of the minority of people who don't pick up after their dogs and don't control them by letting them off their leads," he said.
"We did have the petitions, but we held two council meetings where people could have come along and put their case against the control order, and no one came along. In fact, the one person who did come to the meeting was very much in favour of the control order."
Local resident Sarah Griggs, who started one of the petitions, said a lot of dog-owners would be fuming over the council's decision.
"The council has totally ignored the hundreds of people who signed the petitions and instead gone along with the six people who sent in letters agreeing with the ban," she said.
"They were always going to do this despite what people said, and there's going to be a lot of anger over this, I'm sure."
Dog-owning resident John Battersby said he too was angry at the council's move.
"By introducing this dog ban, which is what it amounts to, the council is penalising responsible owners who do control their dogs at the expense of the minority who do not," he said.
"Dogs need exercise and need a run and the only place to really do that is in Egloshayle."