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Dog Control Orders

Dog Control Orders

Council’s primary consideration is to balance the interests of those in charge of dogs against the interests of those affected by the activities of dogs, bearing in mind the need for people, in particular children, to have access to dog-free areas and areas where dogs are kept under strict control, and the need for those in charge of dogs to have access to areas where they can exercise their dogs without undue restriction. 

Part 5 of The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (NI) 2011 enable councils to create up to five separate orders to help manage issues associated with dogs in their area.  Dog Control Orders can be made in respect of any land in the district council area, subject to certain exemptions, and can relate to the following five matters.

(a)  Failing to remove dog faeces;

(b)  Not keeping a dog on a lead;

(c)   Not putting, and keeping, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer;

(d)  Permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded; and

(e)  Taking more than a specified number of dogs onto land.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) published guidance on Dog Control Orders states that district councils must be able to show that this is a necessary and proportionate response to problems caused by the activities of dogs and those in charge of them.

In 2015 a Dog Control Order (fouling on lands) was introduced throughout the entire Council area.  This replaced the previous provisions contained within the Litter (Northern Ireland) Order 1994.

 

New Dog Control Orders

Further to public consultation and Committee approval Derry City and Strabane District Council will be implementing the following Dog Control Orders pursuant to Part 5 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (NI) 2011 from Monday 5th April 2021:

  • The Dogs on Lead by Direction (Derry City and Strabane District Council) Order 2020 (in respect of land described in Schedule A below).
  • The Dogs on Leads (Derry City and Strabane District Council) Order 2020 (in respect of land described in Schedule B below).
  • The Dogs Exclusion (Derry City and Strabane District Council) Order 2020 (in respect of land described in Schedule C below).

 

The Dogs on Lead by Direction

(Derry City and Strabane District Council) Order 2020

The effect of this Order will be to make it an offence for a person in charge of a dog to fail to comply with a direction given by an authorised officer of the Council to put and keep the dog on a lead of not more than 1.8 metres (6 feet) in length on land specified in Schedule A of the Order.    A dog deemed not under control would be a dog that is not responding to their owner’s commands, which at best is a nuisance but at worse a danger to members of the public.  It is hoped that all users, including walkers of well-controlled dogs, will welcome this facility to address uncontrolled dog behaviour as it is happening.

Schedule A

This Order applies to all land within Derry City and Strabane District Council which is:

  1. open to the air; and
  2.  is land to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access with or without payment.

 

The Dogs on Leads

(Derry City and Strabane District Council) Order 2020

The effect of this Order will be to make it an offence for a person in charge of a dog to fail to keep the dog on a lead of not more than 1.8 metres (6 feet) in length on land specified in Schedule B below.

Schedule B

This Order applies to the following areas within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area:

All shared use pathways:

  • In our parks
  • The City Urban Greenway (i.e. extending from Boomhall pathway and Foyle Bridge

along both sides of the river to Nixon’s Corner and Newbuildings)

  • Faughanview, Drumahoe
  • Kilfennan Valley Park
  • Swinging Bridge, Sion Mills
  • Vaughan’s Holm, Newtownstewart
  • Dergy Castle Park, Castlederg.  

It will also include:

  • Council owned cemeteries (both Active and Closed)
  • Brooke Park, Derry (entire park area)
  • Council owned lands surrounding Council Leisure Centres and Community Centres; including associated car parking.

Exemptions: Land held by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for the purpose of any of its functions under the Forestry Act (Northern Ireland) 2010 (NI) is not subject to any of the above Dog Control Orders

 

The Dogs Exclusion

(Derry City and Strabane District Council) Order 2020

The effect of this Order will be to make it an offence for a person in charge of a dog to take the dog onto, or permit the dog to enter or to remain on, any land listed in Schedule C below, subject to the exception contained in paragraph 2 (i.e. an assistance dog being used by a person with a disability within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995).

Schedule C

This Order applies to the following areas within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area:

This will apply to All Council owned:

  • Leisure centres
  • Children’s play parks/ areas; whether fenced or not
  • Football fields
  • MUGA pitches
  • Tennis courts
  • Bowling greens

It will also include:

  • Brandywell Stadium & Showgrounds (exemption - greyhounds in the Greyhound Racing Stadium), 155 Lone Moor Road, Derry, BT48 9LA
  • St. Columbs stadium pitch and track, Limavady Road, Derry

 

Penalty

The penalty for committing an offence contained in a Dog Control Order is a maximum level 3 fine (currently £1000).  Alternatively, the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty of £80 could be offered in lieu of prosecution; which could be further reduced to £50 for early payment.

 

Further Developments

It should be noted that many of the proposals; especially those in relation to exclusion of dogs from areas were already in place i.e. Council children’s play areas, football pitches, multi-use games areas (MUGAs), artificial pitches, bowling greens and tennis courts. 

Although we believe that the descriptions of the types of lands where controls apply are fairly easy to understand Council has created an on-line map with colour coding for the areas that have different controls as well as new signage.  The new signage contains a QR code which when scanned will enable a dog walker to see what controls are in place where they are and also where the nearest dog foul bins are.

A Responsible Dog Ownership booklet will be created to promote awareness of these Orders as well as other aspects of responsible dog ownership; this will be circulated to households throughout the Council area.

The Covid Pandemic has at the moment put on hold our highly successful Schools Education programme.  When things improve we will deliver this as well as create and develop an Community Education Programme on Responsible Dog Ownership.

In addition to dog wardens enforcing the dog control orders there will be a number of frontline staff from across the various sections of Council authorised to enforce some of the controls, to ensure a more effective and comprehensive approach to responsible dog ownership. 

An evaluation will be carried out after one year on all Dog Control Orders to determine the effectiveness of each order, the level of compliance and a consideration of whether additional controls should be added or some controls be relaxed.  It is imperative however that Dog Control Orders are easy to enforce, since failure to enforce robustly can undermine the enacting of an order.  This is particularly the case for orders that exclude dogs completely from areas of land.  The entire objective of the dog control orders is to be an effective additional tool in promoting responsible dog ownership.

 

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions 

Dog Control Map

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