Have your say on Dog Control Orders

Merton Council is calling on residents to take part in a consultation on proposed new Dog Control Orders, from Monday 17 September to Friday 2 November.

The consultation is being launched following growing concerns from residents, local groups and the police about the increasing number of dog-related problems in public spaces.

Dog Control Orders (DCOs), which are made under the Government’s Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, are designed to help local authorities like Merton to clean up their towns and cities. Merton currently has two DCOs in place: one which makes it an offence for a dog owner or walker to not clear up after their dog; and a second which is for designated dog-free areas, such as children’s play areas.

Merton Council is now calling on residents to have their say on plans to introduce the following DCOs:

– Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times – on all public roads and pavements; all public car parks; small areas of public land; open spaces of less than half a hectare (roughly the size of a small football pitch); and cemeteries, church yards and allotments.

The council is considering this order due to concerns that dogs off leads can cause traffic accidents and intimidate people and animals.

– Dogs must be put on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer – this would apply to all public open spaces across the borough larger than half a hectare (including Morden Hall Park and Mitcham Common, but excluding Wimbledon Common, which has its own byelaws).

Merton is considering this order following growing reports it has received from park users whose dogs are being attacked by loose dogs whose owners have no control over them.

– The maximum number of dogs that can be walked by one person at any one time is four – applicable to all public open spaces larger than half a hectare in Merton (including Morden Hall Park and Mitcham Common, but excluding Wimbledon Common, which has its own byelaws).

This order is being proposed due to concerns about the ability of dog walkers to properly manage more than four dogs at any one time and clean up after them.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge, said: “We’ve received growing complaints about anti-social dog behaviour in public spaces and parks, including dog attacks on people and animals. While we realise most dog walkers are responsible, we do need to consider taking tougher action against those who are not. The consultation is a chance for local people to have their say on making Merton safer and cleaner.”

Residents can take part in the consultation by completing the online survey at http://www.merton.gov.uk/dogcontrolorders by Friday 2 November 2012 (closing date).

For more information about Dog Control Orders, please call 020 8545 4109 or email getinvolved@merton.gov.uk or visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/dogcontrolorders.