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Dog owners reminded of their responsibilities in Sefton’s outdoor spaces as pet ownership rises

Sefton Council is encouraging dog owners, whether they’ve just become pet parents or have always enjoyed the company of their four-legged friends, to familiarise themselves with their responsibilities under the Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

Signage on park railings outlining the rules of the PSPO
Signage on park railings outlining the rules of the PSPO

The measures, aimed at promoting responsible dog ownership and ensuring streets and parks are safe, clean places for all, were approved by the Council at the end of April.

Failure to comply could see owners issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75 by Civil Enforcement Officers monitoring Sefton’s parks and highways.

The Order has been reintroduced at a time when national statistics show that 3.2 million households* in the UK acquired a pet during the pandemic. That means there are now 34 million pets* in the UK including 12 million dogs* who need to be walked and exercised in public outdoors spaces. 

The summer months also see higher visitor numbers across Sefton’s parks, including those who bring their dogs with them, and can sometimes result in an increase in reports of dog mess.

Sefton Council is advising people to make sure they know their responsibilities as dog owners when using its beautiful outdoor spaces during this time, whether they are a resident or a visitor.

As well as it still being an offence to not remove dog fouling, the PSPO:

  • Restricts the number of dogs that can be walked by one person to a maximum of six;
  • Prohibits dogs from entering enclosed playgrounds and fenced sports pitches, including multi use game sport facilities;
  • Prohibits dogs from entering marked sports pitches during specified periods;
  • Ensures dogs are kept on a lead of no more than 2m within defined picnic sites and family areas, all A & B roads and footways and all cemeteries and crematoria;
  • Allows authorised officers to direct a dog owner to place their dog on a lead to prevent a nuisance or behaviour likely to cause annoyance or disturbance to others.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “We know that dog owners get so much joy from their pets and here in Sefton we have some absolutely stunning places for them to spend time outdoors, to take vital exercise with their beloved pooches.

“As a local authority we want our residents and visitors to the Borough to enjoy walking their pets here. All we ask in return is for them to take note of the areas where dogs need to be kept on a lead or where they can’t be walked, and to clear up after their pets. This ensures that dogs and humans can utilise these spaces in harmony while promoting a cleaner and greener environment which everyone can enjoy.”

Lamppost sticker outlining the rules of the PSPO
Lamppost sticker outlining the rules of the PSPO

Existing signage across the Council’s parks, playgrounds and picnic areas has been reviewed and is being updated where needed. New lamppost stickers and further signage is also being placed across the Borough to ensure people are aware of the Order. 

Cllr Lappin added: “Most dog owners across the Borough already understand and do most of the things in the Order anyway, it’s a small minority who flout the rules and should expect to face a fine from our Enforcement Officers if they continue to ignore the clear responsibilities required of them.”

Further detail about the PSPO can be found on the Council’s website at www.sefton.gov.uk/dogs

*Pet ownership statistics taken from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association annual pet population data: https://www.pfma.org.uk/news/pfma-releases-latest-pet-population-data