NEW regulations for dog-walking on playing fields will require “balance, fairness and respect”.
Cllr Carolyn Thomas, Flintshire Council cabinet member for Streetscene and countryside, has moved to calm fears by dog owners that they could face a blanket ban from green spaces later this month.
As reported in the Leader last week, pet walkers in Shotton were furious that a new public space protection order (PSPO) that comes into force in 10 days’ time across Flintshire would bar them from marked sports pitches.
The dog walkers believe the tighter controls adopted by the local authority “tarred with the same brush” responsible dog owners with those who do not pick up after their pet when on a marked rugby or football field.
The new controls, backed by cabinet in September, prohibit dogs being walked on marked pitches but wider playing field areas can still be used to exercise pets.
Responding to the owners’ concerns, Cllr Thomas said: “Dogs are allowed on recreational spaces and around marked sports pitches on or off lead. If dogs are out of control they will be asked to put the dogs on a lead.
“They are not allowed on or within the marked areas.
“I didn’t want to have to restrict dog owners from having to keep their dogs on leads on all areas around marked sports pitches, some have quite large spaces round them.
“As a dog lover, and currently owner of three, I know dogs come in all shapes and sizes, different temperaments, some lazy, some lively and varying levels of obedience.
“Some behave better off-lead and walk to heel very well, and some, like their owners, don’t like walking very far and a gentle, short exercise round a sports pitch is enough but dogs should also have somewhere where they can be exercised and run freely, especially if it is their breed, as long as they’re under control in public spaces.”
Cllr Thomas said she recognised that spaces like these within a community are “important places for socialising, for both dogs and their owners and for people with mobility issues.”
She added: “Like the leader Cllr Aaron Shotton said, it’s about balance, fairness and respect.”