‘Keep dogs under control’ – council

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Dog owners have been urged to ensure their pets are kept under control when they are let off the lead in the borough’s parks.

The Larne Times was contacted this week by a woman who claimed that she had been left “shaken” after her encounter with two Huskies at Town Park.

The woman, who did not wished to be named, said: “I was walking my dog in the park when these two big dogs came running at me.

“I am not scared of dogs, but I should be able to walk my pet in peace without having to worry about other animals running around causing a nuisance.

“I don’t mind people letting their animals off the lead to run around and get a bit of exercise, but they need to make sure their dogs are not out of control and causing problems for other park users.”

New laws brought into effect last year as part of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2011 provided local authorities across Northern Ireland with greater enforcement powers, and Larne Council introduced a number of dog control orders across the borough.

As part of these sweeping reforms, authorised officers were given the power to require that, when they deem it appropriate, dogs must be put on a lead.

Philip Thompson, director of environmental services at Larne Council told the Times: “When we introduced the dog control orders, we tried to strike a balance between banning dogs from playing fields such as Sandy Bay, and allowing dog owners to exercise their pets off the lead in the borough’s parks.

“But we would call on all dog owners to be responsible and keep their animals under control at all times.

“We will be asking council officers to keep an eye on this situation. Certain officers have the power to direct that dogs are put on a lead when necessary.”

Other dog control orders introduced by the local authority include keeping dogs on leads at Carnlough, Browns Bay and Ballygally beaches from 11am to 6pm between June 1 and August 31, and on public and Bank Holidays.

Dogs are also required to be on a lead at all times in graveyards.

Anyone who is detected committing an offence under the orders will receive a fine of £80, or a reduced amount of £50 if it is paid within a certain time.

Meanwhile, calls have been made for the council to provide a safe and secure area in the borough where dogs can be exercised off the lead.