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Councils encourage responsible dog ownership

With the summer holidays now well underway, many residents aand visitors are set to enjoy time outdoors with their pet dogs.

The district and borough councils are looking to promote considerate dog ownership and would like owners to take pride in the area when they’re out and about.

Cllr Francis Drake, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Community Safety, said: “I would encourage all dog owners to be responsible and think of other members of the public when out and about with their dog. Picking up after your dog takes no time at all and helps to keep the area clean and tidy for other people to enjoy.”

Cllr Alan Thacker, West Dorset District Council’s Portfolio holder for Community Safety and Access, said: “Our Dog Wardens work hard to patrol the area but can only be in one place at a time.

“I would like to urge the public to report those who are letting responsible dog owners and the community down to the Environmental Health Team.”

Newly elected councillor for Preston, Cllr James Farquharson, said, “When campaigning before the election, dog fouling was the issue most frequently mentioned to me by residents. People not picking up after their pets demonstrates a shocking lack of care for their neighbours. I’m delighted the council is focussing on improving the situation. I’d urge everyone to provide information when they see someone failing to manage their dogs properly so the dog warden can take action. An increased rate of enforcement will deliver the message that this behaviour will no longer be tolerated in Weymouth.”  

The public can contact the district and borough council’s environmental health team by email at env.health@westdorset-weymouth.gov.uk or by phone on 01305 251010.

Guidance for responsible dog ownership can be found on dorsetforyou.com and includes:

For safety, dog owners must keep their dog under control at all times. This can include keeping dogs on a short lead whilst on areas such as pavements, roads, formal gardens and sports grounds.

The safety of other dogs, dog owners and members of the public is crucial when exercising dogs. Councils can take action in serious cases of dog-on-dog attacks, if a dog attacks a person the Police will then be involved.

It is against the law to let your dogs foul on land open to the public. Specific dog waste bins are supplied in some areas and public litter bins can be used for bagged dog waste. Household residual waste bins are also fine to use for bagged dog waste.

Council dog wardens will issue fixed penalty notices to those who fail to follow these legal requirements. Dog wardens can also act on information received from members of the public.

The welfare and safety of dogs is important. Dogs should not be left in a hot car or in a car for an excessive period of time as this could be interpreted as abandoning the animal and the owner could risk prosecution by the RSPCA. The Police would be empowered to break into a car where a dog is clearly suffering.

Dog Wardens spend a lot time dealing with stray dogs. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that their dog cannot stray from their property. Dogs must wear a collar with identification if in a public place. Microchipping of your dog is strongly advised. This helps to re-unite dog and owner as quickly as possible. If your dog is picked up by the Dog Warden there is a considerable fee to be paid for the return of the dog and the owner will be responsible for any offences arising by the dog whilst it is not under their control.

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council is currently consulting on dog related orders in the area. If you would like to have your say please visit dorsetforyou.com/your-say-dogs

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