Friday, 17 April 2009

Your dog, the law, and control orders

The main legislation which you are likely to encounter in Barnsbury, and indeed the whole of Islington, are dog control orders(DCOs). 

What are dog control orders?

DCOs represent a local authority's way of implementing the powers given to them under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. While some local authorities have yet to introduce borough wide laws Islington has had three DCOs in place since summer 2008. The Orders are as follows:

  • Fouling of land by dogs order
  • Dogs on lead by direction order
  • Dogs exclusion order
You should be able to find out which Orders apply to parks and open spaces in the borough by the presence of signs at their entrances. Typically these signs will tell you to clear up after your dog or that your dog should be on a lead when requested by an official.

How are these orders enforced?
In Islington DCOs can be enforced by 'authorised officers' - typically dog wardens or park patrol officers.

What constitutes an offence?
This is different depending on the order in question so it's necessary to consider each order in turn:

1. Fouling of land by dogs order:
If your dog does a poo on any land to which this Order applies and you fail to clean it up you are committing an offence unless you have a reasonable excuse for failing to do so or have obtained the consent of the local authority.

2. Dogs on lead by direction order:
If your dog is off the lead in an area where a 'on a lead when requested by an official' Order applies, an authorised officer can ask you to put your dog on the lead only if such restraint is reasonably necessary to prevent a nuisance or behaviour by the dog likely to cause annoyance or disturbance to any other person or the worrying or disturbance of any animal or bird. 

3. Dogs exclusion order:

If you allow your dog off the lead in an area to which this Order applies* you commit an offence unless you have a reasonable excuse or have obtained the consent of the local authority.

Dog exclusion orders currently apply to the following areas:

Children’s play areas 

Sports areas 

Multi-user games areas 

Nature conservation areas 

Flower beds and planted beds 

Arlington Square

Batishill Street Gardens

Canonbury Square

Compton Terrace

Gibson Square

Lonsdale Square

Milner Square

Northampton Square

Penn Road Gardens

Percival Street (Homes for Islington area)

Percy Circus

St. Silas Gardens

Thornhill Crescent Garden

Wilmington Square. 

What if I fail to comply with these DCOs? 

The penalty for all the above DCOs  is a fixed notice requiring payment  of £80 within fourteen days (this is reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days). Failure to pay a fixed penalty notice may result in a prosecution. 

In addition a person who is guilty of an offence  shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (£1000). 

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