‘Members should examine the detail before council ratifies decision’

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ANTRIM Line councillor Mark Cosgrove has said he will not give his backing to the new Dog Control Orders when they come before full council later this month.

Monday night’s decision to approve certain areas were dogs will have to remain on leads was only the initial committee stage of the matter and the decision still has to be ratified by the full council, scheduled to meet on Monday, April 29.

Following the debate, Councillor Cosgrove said he would again reject the proposals when they are brought before the council later this month.

He said: “I believe there was a significant amount of consensus across the chamber on most of the issues that the responsible dog owners lobbied for.

“I fully support that dogs can go off lead in most areas except play parks and sport parks, cemeteries, Mossley Mill and most non-public footways and green spaces, however, there is still a very important issue that I remain determined to challenge at full council.”

He continued: “Members had thought that the motion to allow dogs off lead on all paths only referred to council owned land, however, after consulting with the council’s director, I have been led to believe it refers to all footpaths including those owned by the Department for Regional Development.

“I hope that members who voted to allow dogs, off lead, on all public footpaths will now reconsider this before it comes back to full council as the safety consequences, for the public in general, for children specifically and indeed for the dogs are very concerning.

“Clearly responsible dog owners will always walk a dog on a lead on a public footpath but I think council, having agreed with the overwhelming number of places were dogs can operate off lead should think long and hard before it ratifies a decision that could lead to tragic consequences on our public footpaths and roads.”