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Dog walkers face £1,000 for having dogs off lead

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Dog walkers who fail to keep their animals on leads in parks could be fined up to £1,000 under tough new rules being considered by council bosses.

Dog walkers who fail to keep their animals on leads in parks could be fined up to £1,000 under tough new rules being considered by council bosses.

Walsall Council is proposing to make it a criminal offence if people fail to keep dogs on leads or allow them to wander into certain parts of parkland.

Council bosses are also considering limiting the number of dogs a person can take into a park as part of the dog control orders.

People could also be hit with a £1,000 fine if they fail to clean up their dog's mess.

Signs have now gone up in parks and open spaces in the borough, inviting dog walkers and visitors to have their say on the proposals.

Walsall Council said it is "conducting a survey to investigate the impact of the presence of dogs in parks".

Jamie Morris, executive director for neighbourhood services, said: "The council does not currently have rules to control dogs within parks.

"The only powers the council does have at the moment relates to dog fouling and the seizure of stray dogs.

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"As a result of feedback from some residents, we decided to conduct this survey to find out park users' views on the proposed legislation.

"We will introduce rules dependant upon what they tell us — if they say there is no need, then we will not introduce any unnecessary rules."

Dog enthusiast Barbara Lewthwaite is secretary of the Manic Mutts dogs and handlers display team.

She said: "I can see both sides of the coin. On one hand, it is nice for the dogs to run free but parks are for recreation and children.

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"I always keep my dogs on leads in parks because there are other dogs and children running about. People need to be responsible."

The consultation on the five proposals will finish on November 28.

Council chiefs said they could issue Dog Control Orders only where it is a "necessary and proportionate response to problems caused by the activities of dogs and those in charge of them".

Mr Morris added: "Residents often tell us that they would like to see more staff in parks to maker them feel safer, and we did that last year. Our intention is to make the parks an enjoyable and safe place for all residents."

There are more than 500 parks and open spaces in the borough of Walsall, all of which are popular with families as well as dog-walkers.

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