MEA supercouncil to bring dog control orders to heel

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MEA supercouncil has vowed to keep the issue of dog control orders on a tight leash with rebranded signage likely to cost around £10,000.

The figure covers the cost of 125 dog control order signs bearing the new Mid and East Antrim Council logo on beaches, parks, promenades, playing fields and cemetaries across the supercouncil area.

The issue was discussed during a meeting of the Policy and Resouces Committee of Mid and East Antrim Council at Larne’s Smiley Buildings on February 17.

The purpose of the meeting was to agree draft dog control orders for the new supercouncil prior to them being put out for public consultation in April.

The report says that around ten consultation events will be held across the district in relation to the orders.

It states that the consultation process “will enable MEA District Council to demonstrate that the draft Dog Control Orders are both a necessary and proportionate response to the problems caused by the activities of dogs and those in charge of them.”

It continues: “There will be a financial impact associated with introducing the Orders. Some 125 new signs will require to be erected but this presents an opportunity to update existing signage and ensure all facilities are branded with the new Mid and East Antrim branding. The cost of signage will be in the region of £10,000.”

However, speaking after the meeting, Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee Councillor John Stewart told The Times that the proposals were sent back to council officers for amendment after the committee disagreed with the number of signs needed and some of the control orders were deemed too restrictive.

He stated: “There was a plan not to let dogs off their leads on the Blackhead Path in Carrickfergus but the committee didn’t think they needed to go to such lengths. A number of signs are needed, but not quite so many. The logos of the existing legacy councils need to be replaced which involves a cost and that’s going to be brought back to Council.”

Councillor Stewart revealed that replacement signs are still likely to involve “significant cost.” He stated: “Around the £10,000 mark is not a million miles away.”