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Dog control, dog fouling and penalties

Contents

  1. Overview
  2. What dog owners need to know
  3. How these rules are enforced
  4. Exemptions
  5. How to make an appeal
  6. Contact
  7. Download the Public Space Protection Order

Overview

There are rules around dog fouling and dog control in South Tyneside. 

These rules are in place to help protect our parks and open spaces against irresponsible dog owners who do not pick up after, or control their dogs properly. 

These are called Public Spaces Protection Orders.

Many other areas have similar rules, including neighbouring Councils such as Sunderland City Council and Gateshead Council.

What dog owners need to know

The following are all legal requirements.

If you don't follow the rules below, you could be fined.

Dog fouling

You must not allow a dog to foul on public land without picking it up.

More about dog fouling.

Dogs on leads

  • You must keep dogs on leads no longer than 1.5 metres in:
  • You must put a dog on a lead (no longer than 1.5 metres), when asked to do so by an authorised person (Council Officer, South Tyneside Homes Officer, Community Warden or Police Officer).

Why these rules are in place: 

  • Keeping dogs on leads can reduce the risk of dog fouling happening without the owner knowing, and makes sure that owners keep their dogs under control for the safety of the public and other dogs.
  • Most parks and open spaces are free of restrictions. Only if an authorised officer considers a dog, or dogs, to be out of control or causing alarm or stress, will the owner of a dog be instructed to put and keep the dog on a lead.

Dogs in certain areas 

  • You must not allow dogs on Sandhaven Beach, between the hours of 8am and 6pm from 1 May to 30 September each year.
  • You must not allow dogs in fenced off play areas. Dogs are not allowed in specified areas where slides, swings and/or climbing equipment is contained by a fence, or in tennis courts and multi-use games areas. Signs are displayed in all play areas where dogs are not allowed. 
  • You must not allow dogs on school playing fields. This only applies to schools that are active, and not old fields where the associated school is closed.

Why these rules are in place: 

  • These rules are in place for the health and safety of children. These areas should be safe and welcoming play environments.
  • Dog fouling can cause blindness. This is caused by the disease toxocariasis, which is spread from animals to humans through infected dog faeces. Children should be free to play on the equipment without the fear of treading in or coming into contact with dog faeces.
  • Dogs can become aggressive if startled, so excluding them from children's play areas ensures the safety of children.

If you are the only adult with your child and dog, and need to enter a play area to help your child, you can securely tie your dog to a fence outside of the play area, as long as they do not pose a risk to members of the public. Make sure to pick up and throw away any faeces left by your dog.

Groups of dogs

You must not be in control of more than four dogs at any one time.

How the rules are enforced

The fine (or Fixed Penalty Notice) for these offences is £100, reduced to £50 if paid within 7 days.

Community Wardens, Council Officers and South Tyneside Homes Officers have the power to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice for dog fouling and dog control offences.

If you don't pay the fine: 

  • firstly you will get warning letters to the address you provided on the Fixed Penalty Notice
  • if you still don't pay, you will be taken to court and prosecuted - the maximum fine on conviction in the Magistrates' Court is £1,000

Sometimes, prosecution will be pursued from the beginning, such as repeat offenders or circumstances where the offence is so serious that it merits prosecution. For example, a dog owner who allows their dog to be dangerously out of control, despite being directed by an officer to put it on a lead, may risk prosecution rather than being issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Exemptions

There are no exemptions for dog control offences. 

There are specific exemptions that do apply to dog fouling. Read the Public Spaces Protection Order: Control of Dogs in Public Spaces270.79KB.

How to make an appeal

There is no formal appeals procedure against the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice.

If you would like to appeal a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) that has been issued to you, then please contact the Environmental Health team to put forward any mitigating circumstances that you would like to have considered.

You can do this by telephoning South Tyneside Council's Contact Centre on 0191 427 7000 or by emailing the Environmental Health team on environmental.healthmailbox@southtyneside.gov.uk.

Contact

If you have a query, get in touch by either: 

  • email environmental.healthmailbox@southtyneside.gov.uk (include 'Public Space Protection Orders for dog control' in the subject line, and explain your query)
  • call 0191 427 7000 during office hours (8.30am - 5pm, Monday - Thursday and 8.30am - 4.30pm Fridays)

Your enquiry will be passed to the Environmental Health team.

Download the Public Space Protection Order

Public Spaces Protection Order: Control of Dogs in Public Spaces270.79KB

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