'No excuse': dog dirt in Preston branded 'a bigger problem than drug dealing', as canine control rules are agreed

Rules about where dogs must be kept on a lead in Preston - and the places in the city from which they are banned altogether - have been renewed for another three years.
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The regulations also make it an offence for dog owners not to clean up after their canine companions if they defecate in a public space - and not having anything suitable to use to remove the mess will not be accepted as an excuse.

Preston City Council’s cabinet agreed to extend the authority’s dog control public space protection orders [PSPOs] - making no changes to them since they were last reviewed in 2020.

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It means that dogs will continue to have to be leashed when being walked along the road and also in a small number of the city’s green spaces, including Winckley Square Park and Miller Park. Those responsible for a dog will also have to comply with any order from a council officer to put their pet on a lead in any public space if it is deemed to be causing a nuisance.

Dogs and their owners are subject to strict rules in PrestonDogs and their owners are subject to strict rules in Preston
Dogs and their owners are subject to strict rules in Preston

Pooches will also remain prohibited altogether from children’s play spaces, multi-use games areas and some other facilities.

Meanwhile, dog owners will be expected to clear up their dog’s faeces “forthwith” if the animal goes to the toilet while out and about.

The rules stipulate that “being unaware” of what their dog has done or “not having a device for or other suitable means of” removing the dirt will not be considered a reasonable excuse. The clean-up regulations do not apply to anyone registered blind, nor in respect of assistance dogs provided by charities to anyone with a disability.

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According to a police survey, dog mess is the third-highest concern of Preston residents, just behind antisocial behaviour and road safety issues - but ahead of drug dealing and burglary.

Miller Park is one of the places in Preston where dogs must be kept on a leadMiller Park is one of the places in Preston where dogs must be kept on a lead
Miller Park is one of the places in Preston where dogs must be kept on a lead

“The impact that this [issue] has is clear and, as such, the PSPO is a vital method in preventing this community concern,” a Preston neighbourhood policing team inspector said in response to a consultation on the proposed continuation of the orders.

The force also backed the other rules remaining in place after noting that the number of injuries caused by “dangerously out of control” dogs in the city had remained “relatively stable” since the last dog control PSPO review three years ago.

The Kennel Club broadly supported the measures being proposed - especially in relation to dog fouling, on which it encouraged the council to go further by increasing the number of dog litter bins available and reminding people that suitably bagged canine waste can be put in ordinary bins as well.

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However, the organisation did express concern over the exclusion of dogs from areas beyond play areas or enclosed games facilities. It also said that council officers with the power to order owners to put their dog on a lead should be familiar with canine behaviour in order to determine whether restraining them was really necessary.

The Kennel Club said that a dog could be considered a nuisance simply by virtue of the fact that some people “do not like” them.

Punishment for a breach of a PSPO can range from an on-the-spot fixed penalty notice of £100 to a fine of up to £1,000 if the matter goes to court.

Commenting after the orders were renewed, Preston City Council's cabinet member for planning and regulatory David Borrow, said: “We know the majority of our dog owners are responsible, but these orders provide us with powers to take enforcement action for fouling, as well as providing areas where dogs should be on leads or are excluded for public health reasons or to safeguard wildlife in our nature reserves.

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“These orders only last for three years and have to be reviewed. Following a public consultation and engagement with our stakeholders, cabinet agreed to extend the orders for a further three years.”

WHERE ARE DOGS NOT ALLOWED?

In the Preston City Council area, dogs must not be allowed into:

***Play areas

***Multi-use game areas and ball courts

***Bowling greens (except the perimeter footpaths)

***Skate parks, BMX tracks or youth shelters

***Sports pitches when organised sporting activity is taking place

***Fountains, water features, ponds or ornamental lakes

****Cemetery or crematorium grounds (except the footpaths or highways within them)

WHERE DO DOGS HAVE TO BE KEPT ON A LEAD?

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In the Preston City Council area, dogs must be kept on a lead of no more than six feet in length of all of the following areas:

***All vehicular highways (including footways and verges within the highway width)

***Miller Park

***Footpaths adjacent to and leading to and from Avenham Park pavilion

***Japanese Garden in Avenham Park

***Winckley Square Park

***School fields and playgrounds

***:Leisure centre grounds, including sports pitches

***Council owned cemeteries and crematoria

***The Peace Garden at the junction of Friargate and Ringway

***The Flag Market, Market Place

***The city’s two covered markets

***Designated areas within local nature reserves at Haslam Park, Grange Valley, Pope Lane, Hills and Hollows, Fishwick Bottoms and Boilton Wood