Last year local authorities in the UK generated in excess of £160,485 in fixed penalty notices for breached Dog Control Orders (DCOs) with Liverpool, Torbay and Scarborough generating the highest individual revenues.
The findings, released today by Direct Line Pet Insurance highlight an increase in fixed notice penalties (FNP) being issued across the country and this is set to rise again this year as the pet insurer has revealed that in 2015 there were at least 892 Dog Control Orders instituted by local authorities and as of 1st June 2016 with six months left of the year to go, 866 orders had already been given out.
There are five offences which if breached give local councils the power to issue Dog Control Orders and they are:
1. Failing to clean up behind a dog after he/she has been to the toilet
2. Failure to keep a dog on a lead
3. Not putting, and keeping, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer
4. Permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded
5. Taking more than a specified number of dogs onto land
Currently dog protection orders are included within sections 55- 58 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, which state that a Dog Control Order can be made in respect of any land which is open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access. These orders which limit the access of dogs in public areas will soon fall under the Anti-Social Crime and Behaviour Act 2014 and will be rebranded in Autumn 2017.
Speaking of the findings, Prit Powar, head of Pet Insurance at Direct Line said: “To avoid the risk of a fine, owners should ensure they abide by the control orders put in place by their local authority, or anywhere they are visiting with their pets. If unsure, check your local council website, pop into the office or give them a call and ask for a list of the control orders in place that relate to your local area.
“It is worth checking if there are restrictions on where you can take your dog within your area as they change depending on local authority and time of year. Cornwall, for example, has a number of controls in place across its beaches and public areas in summer months which are then relaxed in winter months.
“The orders themselves can vary significantly too; some say no dogs, others say dogs on a lead while others will specify the number of dogs which can be walked by one person at one time, so are especially relevant for dog walkers.”