Norwich council’s support for dog control orders

Plans to require dog owners to keep their pets on leads in certain parts of Norwich were met with cross-party support at a meeting last night.

However, families who have been petitioning for stricter controls on dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners are being warned that such a move is still some way from being implemented.

The ongoing issue of how to prevent dog fouling and dog attacks on other pets and people was raised at the full council meeting of Norwich City Council tonight (Tuesday).

Earlier this year more than 360 people signed a petition requestion a dog control order to be introduced in Douro Place, off Dereham Road, in the West Pottergate area of Norwich, after a number of pets were left dead or injured after being attacked by dogs.

If put in place, a control order would mean dog-owners would be forced to keep their pets on leads or run the risk of incurring an �80 fine.

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The council said at that time it could not justify introducing such an order without a proper evidence base to support it and said it could also unfairly impact on responsible dog owners.

Marion Maxwell, a member of the public advocating on behalf of residents in Douro Place, asked for the latest update about complaints to the council.

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Julie Westmacott, Labour cabinet member for enivronment and neighbourhoods, said the council had received 729 complaints about dogs since April 1, of which only 11 were about dogs being off leads. There were 174 complaints about stray dogs, 330 reports relating to barking dogs and 155 complaints about dog fouling.

Judith Lubbock, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council, propsed a motion which asked the ruling Labour cabinet to consider introducing dog control orders which require owners to keep their dogs on leads in areas of the city where there are established problems with unleashed dogs. It was backed by all four political groups on the council, but councillor Lubbock warned that what constitutes enough evidence and how this evidence needed to be reported or collected should be clarified, and that while the cabinet can be asked to consider the issue, the ultimate decision will be up to those few councillors.

She said: 'Residents are right to call for protection and right to call for actions from this council so they can enjoy their neighbourhoods without the fear of being confronted by dangerous dogs.'

Councillor Westmacott said: 'You are fully aware the cabinet do take this issue seriously and fully agreed to monitor the situation and take action where it warrants it.'

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