Hastings council’s clamp down on irresponsible dog ownership seen as ‘discriminatory’

Linton Gardens
Linton Gardens

A council proposal to clamp down on irresponsible dog ownership has been branded ‘discriminatory’.

Hastings Borough Council is currently exploring bringing in Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to tackle dog fouling and anti social behaviour.

The authority’s cabinet last month approved a four-week public consultation on proposals for PSPOs, with the consultation ending tomorrow (Friday, April 21).

Resident Simon Eaton said: “The proposal is that dogs will have to be kept on leads in most of our town’s greens spaces. Basically there will be nowhere you can freely exercise your dog in the immediate major part of the town. No letting your dog socialise off a lead. No throwing it a ball in the park. Everything that you expect to be able to do with your dog in a park banned with a fine in place if you are caught by a privately employed company warden fitted with body cams and new powers to police this policy.”

He said the proposed green spaces include St Leonards Gardens, Warrior Square Gardens, the Stade Open Space, West Marina Gardens, Gensing Gardens, Linton Gardens, West Hill green space and the grassed area east of Marine Court.

Simon added: “This penalises most dog owners on the spurious idea this will address dog fouling in the town. This will penalise all dog owners regardless, including disabled dog owners. The policy is discriminatory, wrong and dangerous. Unexercised animals are frustrated animals.”

Council spokesman Kevin Boorman said: “We recently started a high profile campaign using social media and posters focused on dog fouling. There has been a lot of support for this, with local residents asking for a more robust approach to dealing with dog fouling.

“We have only made a few changes to the existing dog control byelaws, for example the dogs on leads requirement is extended from 8am until 6pm in St Leonards Gardens rather than 9am until 4pm, and will cover the whole of Warrior Square Gardens rather than just the Rose Gardens. The grassed area east of Marine Court has been added to the dogs on leads area too, as it has been the subject of many complaints from local residents.

“For most of our parks and open spaces, dogs are allowed off their leads before 8am, and after 6pm.

“We have introduced Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) because we are required by law to manage irresponsible dog ownership through their use by October 2017.

“We have tried very hard not to be too draconian in our approach, but have to recognise dogs that are not properly controlled can cause problems. We want everybody to enjoy our parks and gardens.”

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