Why is a public spaces protection order for the control of dogs required?

The Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) will enable the council to take action against dog related anti-social behaviour. The introduction of a dog control PSPO would improve everyone’s safety and enjoyment of Wirral’s open spaces, including dog owners and their pets. 

How would these rules be enforced? 

The enforcement of the PSPO would be through our Environmental Enforcement Officers after observing an offence making up the PSPO.

Would the dog controls apply to assistance dogs?

No, they would not apply to assistance dogs. 

Would the rules apply 24/7?

The PSPO would apply all the time. The dog free zones of some beaches or sports pitches would be seasonal. 

Could I report anyone I see breaking the PSPO? 

We cannot issue a fine on the say so or evidence of a member of the public it has to be witnessed by an enforcement officer. If there is a particular hot spot area you can report it online by visiting the Council’s website wirral.gov.uk and clicking on ‘Environmental Problems’. 

Where can dog poo be disposed of? 

In Wirral bagged dog poo can be disposed of in any public litter bin. If there are no bins available it can be taken home and put into your household waste bin.  

Rather than carrying dog poo around with me during my walk, can I leave bags to pick up on my return? 

No, leaving bagged dog poo hanging in a tree or on railings fence posts etc is classed as littering regardless of the intention to collect later.

Would you have powers to stop and search me for a bag?

Officers would not search people. If council officers observe a person not picking up their dog’s muck, the person would be asked to demonstrate they have a supply of bags with them. If the person could not provide any bags they will be committing an offence.  Appropriate means of collecting and disposing of dog fouling would be dog fouling bags, nappy sacks or plastic bags.

What if I ran out of bags? 

We would strongly advise that you carry spare bags at all times when out walking your dog.

Would dogs be allowed on beaches?

Yes you will be able to use miles of unrestricted beach to exercise your dog, however on our four bathing beaches (West Kirby, Wallasey, Meols and Moreton) as well as New Brighton beach, between 1st May to 30th September each year, dogs would not be allowed in defined areas of the beach that would be clearly signposted as dog free zones. This would apply 24 hours a day during the season. 

Outside of these months dogs would be able to go anywhere on our bathing beaches. Please see our maps that highlight the areas where dogs would not be able to go. 

There would still be over 20 miles of beach where dogs can go all year round and access to Hilbre Island will be maintained all year round without restriction.

 

Could I still walk to Hilbre Island? 

Yes, but you would need to avoid the dog free zone during the season May 1 to September 30, see the map of West Kirby beach that shows the dog free area and how you could access the beach with your dog and walk via Little Eye to Hilbre Island. Always check the notice board for tide times and safe walking route. 

Could I walk my dog around the marine lake in West Kirby?

Yes but dogs must be under control and if observed interfering with other users or behaving in an aggressive and threatening manner, then an enforcement officer would request that they are placed immediately on a lead. 

Would dogs be allowed in parks including country parks?

Yes of course. There would be dog free areas of the park where dogs would not be allowed such as children’s play areas and marked sports pitches during the defined playing season , which for football is 1st August to 31st May each year and cricket 1st April to 30th September each year. However, children's play areas are already dog free, so the PSPO would represent no change to current policy. In some areas, such as in and around picnic areas dogs would need to be kept on a lead.

Would dogs be allowed in children’s play areas?

No, dogs would not be allowed in children’s play areas. This restriction already exists, so the PSPO would represent no change to current policy. The restriction would not apply to registered guide dogs.

Could I take my dog with my child to the park? 

Yes of course, however, if you were taking your dog to the park you would not be able to take your dog into any designated dog free zones, such as children’s play areas. This is current council policy and would not change under the proposed PSPO.

Could I take my dog to watch my child play football? 

Yes, but dogs would not be allowed on the pitch, it would be your responsibility to ensure your dog does not go onto the pitch, whether a game was in play or not.

Would dogs be allowed on sports pitches? 

During the defined playing season dogs would not be allowed on sports pitches, which for football is 1st August to 31st May each year and cricket 1st April to 30th September each year. Outside of the playing seasons, dogs could be exercised on sports pitches. 

Would dogs be allowed on golf courses?

Dogs would be allowed on the public footpaths that cross golf courses, but not on the courses themselves. To ensure enjoyment for all it is advisable that your dog is kept under control at all times. 

Would dogs be allowed on bowling greens and tennis courts?

Dogs would not be allowed on bowling greens or tennis courts, this rule would apply year round. 

Could I leave my dog tied up to the railings/fence/post if I go into a dog free zone without them?

Whilst this is not prohibited under the proposed PSPO, we would advise that you never leave your dog unattended, unless in exceptional circumstances, as this could put your dog in danger of being stolen or involved in an incident which could result to injury to a person or your dog.  

What is classed as a dog lead?

A dog lead is defined as a rope, cord, leash, or similar item not longer than 2 metres in length used to control a dog so that it remains under close control of the person responsible.

Would dogs have to be kept on leads all the time?

No, only in defined locations such as in cemeteries, allotments, public car parks and picnic areas. 

Would dogs need to be kept on a lead at the park?

Dogs could be exercised off the lead but it is your responsibility to ensure they do not run into any dog free zones. An enforcement officer could ask you to put your dog on a lead immediately if your dog was acting in an aggressive or threatening manner or deemed to be disturbing others.

Would dogs be allowed in cemeteries?

Yes, but dogs must be kept on leads at all times. Dogs are currently prohibited from cemeteries; under the proposed PSPO this approach will be relaxed. 

Could my dog run free off the lead to get exercise?

Yes, there are many areas and locations across Wirral where dogs can be exercised off the lead all year round. These include over 20 miles of beaches and the majority of green open spaces. 

What areas could I be asked to put my dog on a lead?

An enforcement officer could ask you to put any dog(s) under your control onto a lead immediately in any area of Wirral if your dog(s) are acting in an aggressive or threatening manner.

Why would I be asked to put my dog on a lead if I was in an area where they didn’t have to be? 

An enforcement officer could ask you to put any dog(s) under your control onto a lead immediately in any area of Wirral. This will only be done if your dog is observed acting in an aggressive or threatening manner or deemed to be disturbing others.