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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Councillors to decide on extension of Bradford wide dog order

Almost 100 more reports of dangerous dogs were made in Bradford last year compared to 2022 – and reports of stray dogs were also up.

Bradford Council’s dog control team received 322 complaints of dangerous dogs in 2023 – the highest level in four years and up from 229 the year before.

This week the Council will decide whether to extend its existing dog control orders – which can see people fined for failing to keep dogs under control or not picking up dog poo.

The existing order is due to expire next month, and earlier this year a consultation on whether it should continue was held.

People were also asked whether the order, which covers parks and green spaces, should be extended to the new city centre park being developed on Hall Ings.

The Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee meets on Thursday morning to hear feedback from this consultation and decide whether to extend the order for a further three years.

Members will be told that as well as the rise in reports of dangerous dogs, 2023 saw the numbers of reported strays rise from 441 in 2022 to 678.

The number of dog fouling reports rose from 371 in 2022 to 417 in 2023.

A report to the committee said: “In addition to the evidence obtained through the consultation responses these (figures) clearly demonstrate the need for restrictions and prohibitions to remain in place.”

The order means dog owners can be fined if they do not keep their animal on a lead in certain areas, including parks, sports fields and cemeteries. They can also be fined for failing to pick up dog poo or providing evidence they have the means to pick up dog poo, such as a poo bag.

The consultation led to 113 responses, which the report describes as “illuminating” and adds: “These reflect the broad feelings of respondents on this issue; that dog control should continue and should be more extensively enforced.”

One of the consultants referred to in the report said: “When cycling in Ilkley, on several occasions dogs have come after me, barking.”

Another respondent from Ilkley said: “The pavements around Ilkley are getting covered in dog s**t and so many of the owners don’t seem to care.”

Calling for stricter rules on dogs being used on sports pitches and facilities, one respondent said: “We regularly use Bradford Bandits BMX track and have to constantly pick up dog faeces prior to training.”

Another said: “People often have a very blurred view of dog care, ownership and responsibility. Many seem to think it ok to allow their dogs to defecate on open grassed areas without cleaning this up.”

Another said: “Patrols should focus in ‘hot spot’ areas and at times likely to encounter offending, often linked to other areas of anti-social behaviour – don’t just pick on ‘middle class’ leafy suburbs and issue tickets in a discriminatory fashion to busy people who make a positive contribution to the local community and society as a whole just because they came out wearing the wrong jacket and left their dog faeces bags in the other one.”

One questioned a section of the order that said dog walkers needed to carry a “suitable means to remove dog faeces”.

They said: “What is going to be the definition of a ‘suitable means’? A plastic bag, a paper tissue, a scoop, a gloved hand?

“Who determines whether all the faeces has been removed?

“What will happen in circumstances where a dog is suffering from diarrhoea or deposits a slightly sloppy stool?”

Central Park in Shipley was one area highlighted as being a problem for dog fouling not being picked up.

Some respondents said there were not enough dog poo bins provided in the district.

Danny Jackson, the Council’s Countryside and Rights of Way Manager, urged more restrictions on professional dog walkers using public parks.

He said: “The issues of concern are large numbers of dogs under one persons “control” in public spaces – which can be intimidating and has resulted in attacks.

“On our moorland sites these numbers of dogs are let off the lead all at once and cause significant disturbance to our protected moorland ground-nesting birds during the breeding season and we are also sceptical about the handlers ability/inclination to pick up the dog mess from such large numbers of scattered dogs.

“We have witnessed them not bothering or not being aware on numerous occasions.”

The committee met in City Hall at 10am.

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