Dog Control Orders: Council extends public consultation period

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The council has extended its public consultation on proposed new Dog Control Orders and is keen to hear from residents and users of its parks and green spaces.

The consultation had been due to finish on March 15, but according to the local authority it has now been extended “following feedback received from interested parties”.

Disgruntled dog walkers in Wallace Park, Lisburn on Sunday, March 4 demonstrating their opposition to Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's proposed Dog Control Orders 2018. Photo by Simon Graham Photography

Disgruntled dog walkers in Wallace Park, Lisburn on Sunday, March 4 demonstrating their opposition to Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's proposed Dog Control Orders 2018. Photo by Simon Graham Photography

It will now close on Friday, April 20 at 5pm.

A local campaign group calling itself ‘Lisburn is Barking Mad’ has voiced its opposition to the council’s plans, particularly the proposed banning of dogs off-lead from areas of Wallace Park at certain times of year.

The group has accused the council of “blatant discrimination” against responsible pet owners. But others have welcomed the proposed changes, saying it’s right that dogs shouldn’t be let loose on the football pitches during the playing season.

More than 450 people have signed the campaigners’ online petition opposing the Dog Control Orders, with hundreds more having signed a hard copy, according to the group.

They have raised questions about the council’s decision to extend the consultation period, having handed over nearly 1,100 objections before the initial deadline.

Stressing that it strives to promote responsible dog ownership, the council says its proposed orders will mean:

- that dogs will no longer be allowed on certain land within the council area, namely play areas, MUGAs, artificial pitches, bowling greens, tennis courts and golf courses. Access to playing fields will be restricted.

- that dogs must always be kept on a lead in cemeteries, burial grounds, caravan parks and community centre grounds in the council area.

- that a dog must be placed on a lead when in open spaces to which the public are entitled to enter in order to prevent nuisance, annoyance or disturbance to a person or other animal if requested to do so by an authorised officer of the council.

The council insists it has drafted the Dog Control Orders “to ensure that its parks and open spaces can provide an enjoyable experience for all users.”

While recognising that the majority of dog owners and walkers have control of their dogs and clean up after them, the council said the new controls were necessary due to some failing to clean up after their dogs when on the football pitches, and others not to controlling their pets in public.

For full details about the draft orders and how to respond to the consultation log on to www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/draftdogcontrolorders

The ‘Lisburn is Barking Mad’ online petition is still live on the change.org website.

• Read more in next week’s Ulster Star