Dog control - warden duties

In the Chichester District the Dog Warden Service is part of Environmental Management Team and operates five days a week with some weekend patrols. In addition there are early morning and evening patrols during the summer. You may contact the Dog Wardens during working hours for general enquiries and there is an out of hours contact number to report stray, lost or dangerous dogs.

The Dog Wardens have numerous duties, but the main areas are:

Practical:

  • handling and securing stray dogs;
  • rehoming stray dogs that are not claimed and
  • dealing with problems relating to noisy and nuisance dogs

Educational:

  • to promote responsible attitudes to dog ownership in particular and pet ownership in general; and
  • to develop an understanding of the role of the dog warden and how the public can be supportive

Enforcement:

  • Enforcement of the local Public Space Protection Order for Dog Control and national dog legislation.

Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)

The vast majority of dog owners are caring and responsible. Not only for their pet's well-being but also considerate as to the effect their dog has on other residents and visitors to the district.

However, complaints regarding the behaviour of some dogs and the problem of dog fouling are still regularly received by the councils' Dog Control Service. To address the concerns and complaints of residents and visitors to the district relating to dog control, the council have introduced a Public Space Protection Order - Dog Control under Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

The PSPO has three parts:

  1. Fouling of Land by Dogs
  2. Dogs on Lead by Direction
  3. Exclusion of Dogs

In summary, the PSPO will cover;

Fouling of Land by Dogs

Requires person in charge of the dog/s to remove dog faeces. This applies to any land which is open to air and to which the public have access falling within the following descriptions; roads and verges, footpaths, public parks, recreation grounds, cemeteries, churchyards, village greens, beach foreshore and promenades, nature reserves etc, see Schedule 1 of the attached PSPO Dog Control for full list of where the fouling by dogs order applies.

Dogs on Leads by Direction

Requires person in charge of the dog/s to put their dog/s on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer. This applies to any land the public have access to across the whole of Chichester District. Authorised officers are; the Dog Control Officers or Foreshores Officers. This order will be used where a dog is considered to be out of control, causing nuisance or disturbance including disturbance to wildlife in important habitats, e.g. Fishbourne & Nutbourne Channel.

Dogs Exclusion

There are a small number of areas where dogs are excluded at all times. These are Bishop's Palace Gardens, Priory Park in Chichester and including any fenced children's play areas. There are also areas of the beach at Selsey, Bracklesham and East Wittering between 1 May and 31 September where dogs are excluded. See the maps for full details.

It should be noted that there may be other areas in the district where there are restrictions around dogs. These will be orders and byelaws introduced by parish councils and which may add other types of control.

Fixed Penalty Notices

Chichester District Council will issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to enforce the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) - Dog Control 2017 as prescribed by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The penalty will be £100, reduced to £75 if paid within 14 days.

There is no formal right to appeal against a fixed penalty notice (FPN). If you do not agree that you committed the offence, you can decide not to pay the FPN and the matter will then be decided by a Court. It will then be up to the Court, on receiving the evidence, to determine whether or not an offence was committed and therefore whether or not any penalty should be imposed. The maximum penalty on conviction is £1000.

Failure to discharge the offence by paying the Fixed Penalty Notice may result in prosecution.

 

Dangerous dogs

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes it an offence to have a dog that is dangerous and not kept under proper control. Many dog owners think that the Act only applies to specific breeds e.g. the Pit Bull Terrier. This is not the case, Section 3 of the Act refers to all dogs of any type or breed and makes it a criminal offence to allow any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place and a private home/private place.

Strengthened by the Dangerous Dogs Act , the Dogs Act 1871 makes it an offence to have a dog that is dangerous and not kept under proper control in a public place or otherwise.

A dog is regarded as "dangerously out of control" under the Act if there are grounds for suspecting that it will injure a person, whether or not it actually does so. If no injury is caused, the maximum sentence is a fine of £2,000 and/or six months imprisonment. Where actual injury is caused the maximum sentence is two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine, plus if appropriate, destruction of the dog.

The Court can also specify particular forms of restriction, such as muzzling or leashing, for all types of dog, as well as having the power to disqualify owners from having custody of a dog for any period of time felt appropriate.

If you have been bitten by a dog first seek medical treatment, then contact the Police.

The Dogs (protection of livestock) Act 1953 makes it an offence for a person to allow their dog to worry livestock on agricultural ground. This means the dog is at large and not under close control, chasing or attacking livestock, which includes cattle, sheep, swine, horses or poultry. Dogs have a natural instinct to chase. Always keep your dog under close control, ideally on a lead when walking near land where stock is kept. For further information regarding your dog and the law, please contact the Dog Warden.

 

Dog fouling

Stop mucking about!

Most dog owners are responsible and they make sure that they clean up after their pets while they are out and about. But there are also those who leave their dog's mess for people to walk in and spread in homes and other locations.

Dog fouling is disgusting, poses health risks and blights our environment. Although we have two dog wardens who patrol the district and we provide hundreds of waste bins, we cannot stop this alone. We need your help!

As well as making a mess of our public areas, did you know dog fouling can also pose a serious risk to our health? A single gram of dog waste is estimated to contain 23 million faecal coliform bacteria which can cause a series of symptoms including cramps, diarrhoea and even serious kidney disorders in humans.

Dog mess can also be host to roundworm eggs. The roundworm parasite is found in the digestive system of dogs which have not been de-wormed and can cause a serious illness in humans known as toxocariasis. This can cause symptoms including skin rashes, breathing difficulties, seizures and even blindness.

If picked up immediately, these eggs pose no risk to humans as they only become infectious after 10-21 days. However, if left, the eggs will pass into surrounding sand or soil where they can survive and are infectious for many months.

How can you help?

If you spot a dog owner failing to clean up after their pet, you can report them to our Dog Wardens. If you can provide details of the time/day, location, a description of the owners and the dog, and if relevant, a car registration number, our Dog Wardens will be able to investigate. Just email environmentalhealth@chichester.gov.uk or call 01243 785166.

Bag it and bin it, or face a fine!

Failure to clean up after your dog is an offence. If you are caught allowing your dog to foul and not cleaning up after it, you will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice. If this is not paid, the owner may be taken to court and if found guilty of the offence, fined a maximum of £1,000.

We've also seen an increase in people putting dog mess into a bag, but then leaving it wherever they see fit. This is littering and is a danger to wildlife and can also result in a Fixed Penalty Notice. Please remember, once you've bagged up the dog mess, you can place it in any litter bin.

Garden accumulation

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is an offence to allow large quantities of dog faeces to accumulate in your garden as it can be unpleasant for your neighbours. Small amounts of dog faeces can be disposed of in domestic refuse, as long as they are in a sealed plastic bag.

Hopefully, any problem can be dealt with informally. If however, this is not the case, the Environmental Management Team may serve an abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which would require the owner or occupier of the premises to clear the garden of all dog faeces and keep it clean. Failure to comply with the notice may result in prosecution.

Micro-chipping and identification

Collar and tag

The easiest way of ensuring the safe return of your dog is to provide your dog with a collar and tag. Under the Control of Dogs Order 1992 every dog while in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address of its owner inscribed on it or on a disc attached to it, failure to do so could result in prosecution and a fine of up to £2,000.

Micro chipping of dogs

Micro chipping of dogs provides a cheap and effective means of quickly identifying your dog should it become lost.  Our Dog Wardens carry scanners with them so they can check to see if a dog has a microchip.

A new law came into play in April 2016, whereby all dogs (over the age of 8 weeks) must now be microchipped, and failure to do so will result in a large fine.