The council is shifting it’s focus towards dog owners who do not clean up after their pets or have their dogs off the lead in public areas.
The council have introduced Public Space Protection Orders across the South Hams, alerting owners to the areas where it will be mandatory to keep dogs on a lead. In some areas, such as children’s play areas; Ash Meadow in Ashprington; tennis courts and bowling greens, dogs will be banned completely.
To enforce this, uniformed officers will be patrolling regularly from July.
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, executive portfolio holder for commercial services at South Hams District Council, said: “The majority of South Hams dog owners are law abiding and considerate of others, but there are a minority that spoil it for everyone, and it is these owners that the new regulations will target. It’s important that everyone is familiar with the areas where dogs must be kept on a lead, or where they are forbidden, so that responsible dog owners are not caught out.”
The new laws also permit authorised council officers to request that an owner place their dog on a lead in any open public area where the dog is causing a nuisance - or may be likely to do so.
Failure to clean up after a dog is also covered by the new laws - and failure to comply with the PSPO is punishable by an on-the-spot fine of £100.
Councillor Gilbert described “Dog mess” as “unsightly, unpleasant and dangerous”. He said: “We will no longer tolerate irresponsible owners who fail to clean up after their animals. If you know of an area that is regularly fouled, please let us know using the ‘report it’ function on our website, and our officers will add it to their patrols.” He also warned dog-owners to be vigilant when walking their pets: “If you are walking your dog, make sure you remain observant as to where it fouls, always carry bags and place the bags in a litter bin or take them home. Please don’t hang the bags in trees and bushes; they’re not baubles and this could constitute a littering offence.”
Furthermore, dogs will not be permitted on a number of beaches in the South Hams during the summer months, and this too will be punishable by £100. Some of the beaches included in the ban are South Sands (Salcombe); Mouthwell Sands (Hope Cove); Challaborough and Wembury.
There will also be a partial ban implemented at Bigbury and Bantham and a seasonal ‘no dogs’ policy at Blackpool Sands and Mothecombe.
Some of the areas where dogs will not be permitted to be off the lead are Royal Avenue Gardens in Dartmouth; Kingsbridge Quayside and Market Square (including the bandstand); Kingsbridge recreation ground (including the embankment footpath and grass strip to include the Town Square); the Slipway in Kingsbridge Quay Car Park; the Kingsbridge bus station; all public footpaths within the Kingsbridge town boundary; Butts Park and The Green in Newton Ferrers (including areas adjacent to the War Memorial and to Dillons); Community Wood in Marlborough, and Cliff House Gardens in Salcombe.
Dogs will also be required to be kept on the lead in cemeteries, churchyards, car parks and all areas covered by Rule 56 of the Highway Code.