The Council renewed a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) on 16th November 2020 following public consultation during August and September, which suggested that residents supported the controls. The Order now runs until 15th November 2023.
Members noted that many residents thought the 'Maximum Six Dogs' rule, explained below, should be reviewed.
For the moment the 'Maximum Six Dogs' rule continues, unchanged. Councillors are due to consider this further on 26 January 2021. We will provide further details here in due course.
PSPOs can be challenged under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 on the grounds that the local authority did not have the power either to make the Order or include particular prohibitions or requirements, or that proper processes had not been followed as prescribed by the legislation. Challenges must be made to the High Court within six weeks of the Order being made, and by an individual who lives in, regularly works in or visits the restricted area. The High Court can uphold, quash or vary the PSPO and may decide to suspend the operation of the PSPO pending the verdict. As with all orders and powers, the making of a PSPO can be challenged by judicial review on public law grounds within three months of the decision or action subject to challenge.
Dog Controls cover:
The controls help make sure that we can all enjoy clean and safe public places by balancing the needs of dog owners with those of other residents. They are simple, fair rules, which should be easy to follow.
Where the rules are broken an offence is committed. Offenders may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for £100, or receive a fine of up to £1,000 from a magistrate for not complying with a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)
The Orders do not apply to registered blind people and their guide dogs or to dogs registered with Dogs for the Disabled, Support Dogs and Canine Partners for Independence, on-duty police dogs and search and rescue dogs.
It is an offence for an owner to allow their dog to foul any public place and not immediately remove the waste. These controls apply to almost all public places such as grass verges, pavements, churchyards and public open spaces.
Dog owners should carry a poop-scoop or other means such as bags with them to pick up and dispose of their dog's waste. Fouling controls still apply whether or not there are signs or dog bins in the area. The Council is committed to placing more fouling bins in areas regularly used by dog walkers, however, where no bins are present dog owners should dispose of fouling in their domestic refuse bin. Dog waste bins
Dog wardens do not currently carry out routine dog fouling patrols but will spend time in areas where we have dog fouling complaints. Report a problem site here.
What we will do next:
- The details you provide will be passed to the dog warden
- Where possible, wardens will patrol the problem area at the times you suggest
- If we witness an offence we will approach the offender and issue them with a fixed penalty notice (FPN). We do not take this step based on third party evidence alone
- If we meet a dog walker, but don’t witness an offence, we will remind them of their obligations to clear up after their dog
- Where we have detailed information which identifies a dog owner as a possible offender, we will contact the dog owner by letter, treating this information in good faith.
What you can do
If you would like to encourage dog owners to clean up after their dog, you can download and display a Dog Controls Sign (PDF 994kb). Our customer services staff can also print this sign for you on request. You can attach a sign to your property – such as a wall or gate, display it in a window, or work with other residents to use community noticeboards and newsletters to promote responsible dog ownership.
If you saw a dog fouling offence take place and you can identify the dog’s owner, we may be able to take action based on what you’ve seen. We need you to provide a detailed account of what you witnessed and may need you to confirm these details in a magistrates' court. If you are willing to support us with such action please complete and submit our Summary of witness information form (PDF 220KB).
Anyone walking a dog in a public place is obliged to clean up after their dog. This control requires a dog's owner to prove, if asked, they have a bag with them so are able to pick up after their dog.
Dog walkers CANNOT take their dog into certain places – even if they have it on a lead.
Dogs are excluded from the following areas:
- Fenced or enclosed children’s play areas signed at its entrance(s) as a “dog exclusion area” which are designated and marked for children’s play
- Fenced or enclosed games areas such as tennis and ball courts, multisport areas, skate parks
- The grassed portion of all bowling greens
- Fishing pools managed by angling clubs as per their signs
- Fenced or enclosed portions of Apedale Country Park - signed at its entrance(s) as a “dog exclusion area” which are designated for wildlife conservation
- Open space owned by parish and town councils signed at its entrance(s) as a “dog exclusion area”.
These areas have been chosen because the presence of a dog, however well behaved, could cause problems and, on balance, we feel it would be better that the dog was not there.
The sites we have selected are all relatively small and have a fence around them. They have a limited number of entrances where appropriate signs can be displayed.
Children’s play areas - these are fenced compounds with children’s play equipment such as a slide or swings. These areas are designed for young children, who may be intimidated by the presence of a dog. Play equipment may also potentially injure a dog.
Games areas, such as tennis and ball courts, multisport areas, skate parks - these are enclosed sites, usually for older children or adults, which are designed for a specific purpose. If the area is in use, a dog may disrupt its use or there may be a chance of it being injured. Certain activities can excite dogs and can result in them acting unpredictably.
Apedale Country Park - some parts of Apedale Country Park are specifically managed for nature conservation and some areas have livestock. Dogs are excluded from the following key locations. Each of these sites is fenced and a sign will be displayed at entrances to the site.
- Lapwing paddock – to protect ground nesting birds
- Hornbeam paddock one and two – for the safety of livestock
- Conservation/pond dipping area adjacent to visitor/energy centre, off Blackbank Road
- Conservation/pond dipping area adjacent to Apedale Heritage Centre, off Loomer Road
Dogs on leads controls also apply to some areas in the park. In total these cover only a small portion of the site. In all remaining areas, dogs can be exercised off the lead, but remember that fouling controls still apply.
Open space owned by parish and town councils - in addition to open spaces owned and maintained by the Council, there are a number of other places which are owned and managed by parish councils. Parishes set their own rules about how spaces can be used. We have a number of sites where, for the benefit of other parishioners, it's felt that dogs should be excluded.
Examples include: Harrison Close playing field (Audley Parish Council) and Whitmore Village Hall sports field (Whitmore Parish Council)
If you would like to report a dog related matter concerning exclusions, please report it here.
Dog walkers must keep their dog/s on a short lead (no longer than two metres) when they walk it in certain places. Dogs must be kept on a lead when being walked in the following areas:
- Bradwell Crematorium, churchyards, cemeteries and closed churchyards
- Formal gardens
- Marked out sports pitches
- Unfenced children’s play equipment and a portion of the playing fields, extending 20 metres in all directions from it.
- Fenced/enclosed portions of Apedale Country Park signed at its entrance(s) as a “dogs on leads area” which are designated for wildlife conservation
- The northern section of Bathpool Park, from its entrance and car park at Boathorse Road, along the main access path which runs from the car park at Boathorse Road, adjacent to the children’s play area - and - rugby pitches to its junction with footpath 146 which crosses the dam wall.
- Paths which adjoin Bathpool reservoir's main fishing pool and continue along the eastern side of the reservoir
- Public rights of way: Kidsgrove 130 to the reservoir embankment 144, 146 and 182.
- Fishing pools managed by angling clubs as per their signs
- Open space owned by parish and town councils as per their signs
We believe there are times when a dog should be able to be exercised off the lead and other times when it needs to be under close control. In certain places dogs need to be kept on a lead for their safety and the safety of others using that public place. By keeping a dog on a lead there is less chance of dogs fighting and causing concern to others. Our evidence suggests that fewer fouling offences happen when dogs are kept on leads.
Why have we chosen these areas?
These are areas where it is essential that dogs are kept under control for the safety of others using the area.
Churchyards and cemeteries - in many cases we feel that dog owners should be able to take their dog into/through these areas, provided it is kept under control. Keeping a dog on a lead is a mark of respect, and minimises the risk of accidental damage to floral tributes, or urination on headstones. Dogs have previously been excluded from many of these sites.
Formal gardens - we welcome residents with dogs to our formal parks such as Queen Elizabeth Park (Pool Dam), Queen's Gardens (Ironmarket), Chesterton Park and Clough Hall Park but ask that dogs do not run free in the planted areas.
Many residents take pleasure from our award-winning landscaping and we ask that owners keep their dogs on a lead while walking through these planted areas to prevent accidental damage.
We would also ask residents to place their dog on a lead if walking through Oaklands Park, Porthill. This is to minimise the risk of injury to waterfowl.
Marked out sports grounds, and pitches - because of the way these grassed areas are used, it is essential that they are kept as clean and safe as possible. Unfortunately, we continue to find that some residents allow their dogs to foul these areas and then do not remove the waste. We consider this unacceptable.
While we have chosen not to ban dogs from these areas we ask that they be exercised on a lead when on a marked out football or rugby pitch, so as to ensure that dog fouling can always be removed.
Playing fields containing unfenced children’s play equipment - in most cases where we have play equipment for young children, it is contained within a fenced compound. We believe that dogs should be kept away from the play equipment itself, and those using it. However where play equipment does not have a perimeter fence immediately surrounding it, we would ask dog walkers to place their dogs on a lead when they are within 20 metres of it.
Apedale Country Park - some parts of Apedale Country Park are specifically managed for nature conservation and some areas hold livestock. Dogs need to be kept on a lead in the following places - Whitebarn Paddock and adjacent nature area off Blackbank Road. Also, dog exclusions apply to some areas in this park. In total these cover only a small part of the site. In all remaining areas, dogs can be exercised off the lead.
Bathpool Park - dog owners should keep their dog on a lead while walking along the main access path which runs from the car park at Boathorse Road, adjacent to the children’s play area and rugby pitch, to the bridge by the reservoir embankment and along the eastern side of the reservoir, adjacent to the railway line. This is a busy thoroughfare used by cyclists and families with young children. Dogs should also be on a lead if exercised on any of the sports pitches. In addition, dog exclusions apply to the children’s play areas in the park. In total these cover only a small part of the site. In all remaining areas, dogs may be exercised off the lead. If there are anglers using the pool then please keep your dog under close control until you have passed them. (Link to map)
Public Footpaths - dogs must be kept on a lead or under close control on public footpaths, usually those which cross farmland. Staffordshire County Council marks these with a sign on the footpath marker post.
Open space owned by parish and town councils
In addition to open spaces owned and maintained by the Council, there are a number of other places which are owned and managed by parish councils. Parishes set their own rules about how spaces can be used. We have a number of locations where, for the benefit of other parishioners, they feel dogs should be kept on leads. Examples include: Alsager's Bank playing fields, Bignall End Road/Tibb Street public open space, Queens Street/Deans View playing fields and Scott Hay playing fields, all within Audley parish - and Jubilee Gardens, Fair Green Road and Waters Edge Estate within Whitmore parish.
You can still let your dog off the lead in parks and open spaces. We know it's important for dogs to have places where they can run about and socialise with other dogs.
Dogs can be off the lead in large areas of most public parks such as Brampton Park, Clough Hall, Lyme Valley, Bathpool, Apedale, Bateswood, Birchenwood and the Wammy and on common land such as Wolstanton Marsh. However, owners are still required to clean up if their dog fouls - so they must make sure they can see their dog at all times.
To report a dog related matter concerning dogs on or off leads, please report it here
Requires dogs to be placed on a lead when requested to do so by an authorised officer.
Officers such as dog wardens, park rangers, police officers and PCSOs can tell dog walkers to put their dog on a lead if they feel it is necessary for the safety of the dog or to safeguard others. If you fail to follow their instructions, they can issue a fixed penalty notice.
All public places. It includes, but is not limited to, all footpaths, the footways and carriageway of every highway (including tree bases and grass verges) and every cemetery, park, public garden, children’s play area and open space including land owned by the borough, parish and town councils.
An owner may be asked to place their dog on a lead if the officer has witnessed it acting aggressively, or believes that the owner would not otherwise be able to keep it under proper control.
Owners may also be asked to place their dog on a lead when attending events where there are large numbers of people and other dogs. We may ask for your co-operation to place your dog on a lead to protect wildlife and livestock.
This control means that we can reduce the number of locations where dogs would otherwise always have to be walked on a lead – for example we may ask dog walkers to place their dog on a lead if attending a fun day event in our parks. At other times dogs may be exercised off the lead.
We consider that if a person walks more than six dogs they will not be able to keep them all under proper control. The risk that they will not notice, or be able to remove, fouling increases. It is more likely that larger groups of dogs will behave as a pack. Other park users - including walkers, family groups, runners and cyclists - often report feeling intimidated by groups of dogs.
Locations where this order applies:
- Apedale Country Park
- Bateswood Country Park
- Bathpool Park
- Clough Hall Park
- Silverdale Country Park
- Lyme Valley Parkway
- Birchenwood Country Park
Where the rules are broken an offence is committed for exceeding 6 dogs, offenders may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for £100, or receive a fine of up to £1,000 from a magistrate for not complying with a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)
UPDATE OCTOBER 2020: Councillors have asked that 'Maximum Six Dogs' rule is reviewed to establish if the maximum number should be changed, or if the rule should apply in others places. This will be further considered at the meeting of Public Protection Committee on 26 January 2021, after which a process may be started to vary this part of the PSPO.
To report a dog related matter concerning a person exceeding walking 6 dogs, please report it here
Last updated 27 October 2020