Dog control, dog fouling and penalties

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 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.