Council issues reminder to dog owners to “take the lead”

8th January 2021

Photo 1 Dog Control Order Signage

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is issuing a reminder to dog owners across the district of their responsibilities to ensure safe and welcoming parks and open spaces for all.

Dog owners are required by law to look after their dogs properly or they could face a fine, or in some cases, be banned from keeping animals.

The Council is reminding dog owners that they must ensure their dog is kept under control at all times and that it is licenced.

They must also clean up after their dog. Dog fouling is both a nuisance and a serious health hazard as dog faeces can contain a number of things which can make people ill or can even cause blindness.  Dog waste can be placed in any public litter bin or in the household black or green landfill bin.

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 health pandemic dog owners should walk their dog on a lead in public parks to retain control, keep their distance from other walkers and follow government guidance in relation to not travelling more than 10 miles from their home in order to take exercise. If a public park or open space is busy people should visit a different park or open space if possible.

Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Diana Armstrong, said:

“The Council is keen to promote responsible dog ownership and has introduced several initiatives in support of this.

Last summer the Council opened dedicated dog exercise parks in Enniskillen and Omagh to provide a secure space for dogs to be exercised off lead and in response to public demand. I would like to personally thank Council staff for their efforts to open these dog parks, during what was a very challenging time, so that people and their dogs could get outdoors and exercise in a safe space, helping to support the wellbeing of both dogs and their owners.

In addition, the Council runs a Green Dog Walker scheme, an annual Dog for Life campaign and last year, introduced Dog Control Orders across one fifth of open spaces managed by the Council, to ensure safe access to open spaces such as playparks and sports grounds and pitches.”

Dog Control Orders are in place across approximately 20 per cent of Council outdoor public spaces to give it more power to take action on breaches of pre-existing dog control Guidelines.

Under the regulations dog owners are not allowed to take their dog into or permit it to enter Council playparks, sports pitches, multi-use games areas, bowling greens or tennis courts.

Dogs must also be walked on a lead in certain Council operated public parks, tourist and leisure facilities, grounds of Community Centres, and cemeteries.

A person in charge of a dog will be guilty of an offence if they are in breach of any of these regulations, including dog fouling, as it is an offence not to clean up after your dog. If found guilty they will be liable, upon conviction, of a fine up to £1,000 while a fixed penalty of £75 may be issued.   Similar penalties may be imposed for owning an unlicensed dog and for allowing a dog to stray.

The Council has installed signage at its outdoor spaces where Dog Control Orders apply to highlight the responsibilities of dog owners and to help them remain within the regulations and avoid a fine or fixed penalty notice.

“While owning a dog can be a wonderful and rewarding experience it is important that dog owners take their responsibilities seriously to protect themselves and others around them,” added Councillor Armstrong.

To find out more about responsible dog ownership please contact the Council’s Dog Control and Licencing team on 0300 303 1777 or visit the Council website at the following link.