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Public to have their say on tighter restrictions on dogs in open spaces

PROPOSALS for new controls which could see dogs prohibited from some of the green areas around Enniskillen have sparked much public debate in recent weeks.
In recent days the Council clarified its position that the new proposals would not result in a ‘blanket ban’ on dogs in public places, but rather would ensure that areas such as play parks and sports fields would have adequate controls in place to ensure ‘responsible dog ownership’.
The Council has clarified that dog control orders will apply to 20% of open space owned by the Council and do not apply to open space owned by other agencies.
A spokesman for the Council said, “The proposals with regard to where dog owners can take their dogs are no different to those already in existence. Dogs are currently not permitted in Council play areas, football pitches, multi-use games areas, artificial pitches, bowling greens or tennis courts and under the new proposals this will still be the case. However, the proposed order will give the Council more power to take action on breaches of these regulations.
“It is vital that these areas provide a safe environment for children to play and are kept free of dog mess which is both unhygienic and hazardous, particularly to children. Dog faeces is associated with the disease toxocariasis which can cause serious illness and even lead to blindness.”.
Meanwhile, the Council confirmed there are there are new proposals for the introduction of controls allowing authorised officers of the Council to require a dog to be put on a lead if the officer believes that such restraint is reasonably necessary to prevent a nuisance.
The proposals for the new dog controls are set to be put to public consultation shortly. The spokesman added, “The public will have the opportunity to have their say on the draft proposals during the forthcoming consultation phase and the Council will take into consideration all representations made.”
Recognising the public demand demonstrated for dog friendly zones where pets can be exercised he added, “The Council is currently considering establishing dedicated dog parks in Enniskillen and Omagh, where owners can exercise their dogs without undue restrictions.”

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