Dogs to be banned from open spaces

SIXTEEN dog exclusion zones could soon be created in Huntingdonshire, banning dog walkers from some parks and open spaces. The zones would also see restrictions which would force owners to keep their dogs on a lead. Dog owners are being urged to fight the

SIXTEEN dog exclusion zones could soon be created in Huntingdonshire, banning dog walkers from some parks and open spaces.

The zones would also see restrictions which would force owners to keep their dogs on a lead.

Dog owners are being urged to fight the plans and make their voice heard.

Huntingdonshire District Council is considering introducing new dog control laws, the most controversial of which ban dogs from certain areas or force them to be kept on leads.

If the new laws are passed, dogs would have to be kept on a lead in parts of Riverside Parks in both St Neots and Huntingdon, Hinchingbrooke Country Park, Wilhorn Meadow in St Ives and Hartford Meadows.

Dogs would be banned from parts of Holt Island, St Ives, the Riverside Parks in St Neots and Huntingdon, Huntingdon Town Park and Coneygear Park in Eynesbury.

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St Neots resident and dog owner Paula Longford told The Hunts Post she thought HDC was was applying the order "rather more extensively than she would have liked."

"Everyone, even dog owners, are in favour of cleaning up dog faeces and keeping dogs out of children's play areas. But it is madness to keep dogs out of green areas in the region."

Breaking the new laws would see dog owners facing a £75 on the spot fine (£50 if paid within 10 days). In the magistrates court the penalty carries a maximum fine of £1,000.

Paula, who has a bearded collie called Basil, added: "Owners have to exercise their dogs somewhere and some people are not lucky enough to have big gardens. It is pleasant to take a dog for a walk.

"A lot of people think these new laws will never happen. But it could happen and as many dog owners as possible should participate in the consultation process and make their voices heard."

The United Kingdom Kennel Club has established a group called Casey Dog to protect dog owner's rights following the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act of 2005. About 2,000 people across the UK have signed up to the group.

A spokesman for the club said: "Dogs are often banned from children's play areas, which we agree with, but we do not think they should be banned from all parks. Parks are meant to be used by everybody and I don't see why if dog owners act responsible they can't use the parks."

HDC has said the new laws, which will come under Section 55 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, will merely replace existing byelaws but could be more strictly enforced.

Public consultation on the dog control orders will run until September 30.

INFORMATION: Are dog exclusion zones a good idea? Send your views to editor@huntspost.co.uk or write to The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE29 3TB. For more information, including maps of proposed dog exclusion sites or to take part in the consultation process, visit www.huntsdc.gov.uk and type dog control laws into the search box.

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