Council scraps dog ‘no go’ plan for parks

Archive photo INCT 01-403-RM
Archive photo INCT 01-403-RM

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has withdrawn controversial plans to introduce dog ‘exclusion zones’ following a public backlash.

The local government authority announced a consultation on potential dog control legislation at the end of May.

Among the proposals, which aim to promote responsible dog ownership, was a ban on bringing dogs into some 96 public spaces throughout the Mid and East Antrim area, including several children’s play parks and sports pitches.

Views were also sought on dog fouling, dogs on leads in parks, pathways and cemeteries, and in a number of other areas such as beaches and country parks.

However, the plans were met with staunch opposition locally, with particular criticism for the parks and playing fields ban.

An online petition calling on the council to rescind the proposals gathered over 3,000 signatures.

A mass dog walk was also organised for this weekend in Carrick’s Marine Gardens.

Responding to the outcry last week, a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council indicated that the play parks and playing fields section had been “withdrawn from the consultation process”.

“Officers have acknowledged that the public would find the proposals extremely stringent in terms of the number and extent of the exclusion areas,” a spokesperson said.

“This matter will further considered in the future by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.”

However, consultation will continue on the remaining six dog control orders.

“All comments will be taken on board and collated into a report where council will make the final decision on the implementation of these Dog Control Orders,” the spokesperson added.

“Ultimately Mid and East Antrim Borough Council wishes to ensure the environment is improved in relation to dog fouling and dog safety issues.”