Action to deal with reckless dog owners

Chapel St Leonards community warden Alex Stewart
Chapel St Leonards community warden Alex Stewart

Measures are being taken to deal with irresponsible dog owners in Chapel St Leonards.

Dog control orders, including fixed penalty notice fines, have been put into force by the parish council to tackle the problem.

The orders will require dogs to be kept on a lead on any part of the promenade and owners or handlers to clear up after their pet anywhere within the village.

The council’s community warden Alex Stewart will be able to instruct owners to put their dog on a lead if considered to be a threat to people or animals. Offenders face fixed penalty notices of £75 or a maximum fine of £1,000 from a magistrates court if they refuse to pay.

Council chairman Mel Turton-Leivers said: “Up until now, the council has taken a very gentle approach to dog control.

“Whilst many dog owners have responded positively to this approach, a sizeable minority have flaunted the rules to the detriment of the whole community. Chapel St Leonards is essentially a very dog-friendly village, but we rely upon dog owners taking responsibility for their pets. Sadly. Not all of them do so, which has led us to take these measures.”

The council receives constant complaints about un-cleared dog mess and dogs running free in inappropriate places. Recent incidents include a woman suffering a badly bruised arm after being bitten by a dog on the sea defence wall, a man bitten by an uncontrolled dog during an attack on his own pet and one dog pursuing another down the middle of Sea Road.

Coun Turton-Leivers added: “Whilst thankfully, no-one was hurt in this last incident, the potential was there for serious injury to be caused through a car swerving to avoid the dogs.

“Sea Road is a busy thoroughfare for both vehicles and pedestrians, including the children who attend St Leonards School.

“Chapel St Leonards Parish Council is committed to building a better community. That means trying to create an environment of which the whole community can be proud. Litter, dog mess and dangerous dogs do not fit in with this aspiration and we do not intend to tolerate them.”