Dogs walkers face new rules

Dog walking on lead
Dog walking on lead

Walking a dog off the lead in parts of Bedford could pose a risk of a hefty fine as new bylaws are under discussion.

The Borough Council is running a consultation to hear residents’ views on where dogs are allowed, and if they can be walked off the lead.

The move follows a failed attempt to prosecute a woman for walking her dog off a lead in Foster Hill Road Cemetery.

The case revealed the council’s Dog Control Order was flawed and led to 44 other owners who had been prosecuted being reimbursed.

A council spokeswoman said the council is now consulting on plans to introduce a single order to create a “consistent approach to dog walking in the borough”, and balance the needs of dog owners and other residents.

The council intends to bring in a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which will replace outdated legislation relating to fouling and dog control.

The planned PSPO covers four key points - excluding dogs from some areas, making it an offence to not pick up dog faeces, making it an offence to walk dogs off the lead and making it an offence if a person in charge of a dog fails to put it on a lead when directed by an authorised officer on any land to which the order applies.

Breaching the order could result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75.

Deputy Mayor Charles Royden said: “We recognise the vast majority of dog owners are caring, responsible people. However, we do get regular complaints from people about dog fouling and the behaviour of some dogs, and it is important that we respond to these concerns and set out clear rules.

“This new PSPO will bring greater clarity and consistency for the benefit of everyone and we look forward to hearing people’s comments on the consultation.”

For more information, go to www.bedford.gov.uk/dogcontrol or see the document at a library.