DISGRUNTLED dog owners have branded Newtownabbey Council’s new Dog Control Order (DCO) “unfair”.
The legislation, which is aimed at tackling problems such as dog fouling, bans dogs from more than 20 sites around the borough, including play areas, playing fields and sports facilities.
Introduced by the council last Friday (February 1), the new DCO lists a total of 21 locations where dog owners are no longer permitted to take their pets, including children’s play parks, sports pitches, tennis courts and recreation grounds owned or maintained by the council.
Anyone caught breaching the regulations could be issued with an £80 fixed penalty notice or face prosecution.
The Times invited readers to have their say on the new Dog Control Order by getting in touch with us via our Facebook site. And while some respondents were supportive of the council’s tougher stance on where dogs can and can’t go, particularly to keep them away from children’s play areas, most were unhappy with what they see as responsible dog owners being persecuted for the actions of an irresponsible minority who fail to clean up after their pets.
Here’s what some readers had to say:
• Emma Dunbar - “A complete and utter disgrace. It’s not fair on people who actually lift after their dog has went to the toilet or keep them on a lead.”
• Karen Clark - “We need to make a stand and keep letting our dogs walk in these places! Who are they to say where we can’t and can walk our dogs?”
• Sharon Carberry - “So where exactly are we allowed to walk our dogs? Disgraceful!”
• Shelley McComb - “They should be fining the irresponsible ones who don’t clean up after their dogs instead of responsible people who do! They’d make their money that way alright!”
• Grace Stewart - “So now I cant take my dog to play football with my son at Glengormley Park (Lilian Bland)? Disgrace! The next nearest park to me is Valley Park and as I dont drive and am heavily pregnant I can no longer walk that far and back again to give my dog the off lead exercise he needs. The council had a big campaign to tackle dog fouling on the pavements but now they are basically saying ‘we’d rather you clog up the pedestrian areas with dogs and dog mess than our massive open areas’ as people who dont clean up after their dogs arent going to do it regardless of where they walk them! The majority of areas listed are used mainly by (responsible) dog owners so just who exactly benefits from these laws?”
• Thomasina Adair - “The problem isnt the dogs, it’s the people who dont clean up after them. Unfortunately the ones who clear up after them suffer because there are irresponsible lazy gits who don’t. I have 2 dogs and when they are out we clean up their mess. Makes me mad when others dont.”
• Colin Cunningham - “Disgrace! This will only hurt the responsible dog owners.”
• Claire Galway - “On the council website there are maps showing areas where dogs are excluded (mainly within the children’s play areas...which is 100% understandable) and also where dogs are to be kept on or off leads. To be fair it’s the result of the many irresponsible dog owners who don’t lift their dog waste or else have them off the lead with no control. I own two dogs myself and it infuriates me every time I see one of these ignorant lazy dog owners ignore that their dog is fouling in public areas.....to the point where I have offered them a ‘poop bag’ purely to shame them! They give the rest of us responsible dog owners a bad name!”
Full details of the council’s new Dog Control Order legislation, including proposals to introduce dog exclusion zones in public parks, are available online at www.newtownabbey.gov.uk/dogs