Criticism over Marine Highway dog signage

Dog Control Order (Archive Picture).
Dog Control Order (Archive Picture).

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has responded to a complaint from a local person over the erection of signs covering dog control in the town.

Speaking to the Times last week, the resident drew attention to a notice which had recently appeared on the Marine Highway in Carrickfergus.

The notice reportedly asked dog walkers to keep their pets on leads at the seafront location.

“Is this just the start of dog walkers being pushed out again and the council throwing their weight about?” the resident alleged.

Last year, a number of proposed pieces of legislation on dog exclusion zones were put forward for consultation by the local government authority.

However, the proposals covering children’s play parks and playing fields had to be withdrawn after they were criticised by dog owners as being excessively strict.

A number of Dog Control Orders came into effect on January 1.

This included legislation on dog fouling, dogs on leads by direction, and dogs on leads on promenades and in cemeteries.

The latter requires a restraint to be used with dogs at Carrickfergus promenade including Marine Highway, Harbour and Marina.

A further two orders applied to beaches in the borough and to Carnfunnock Country Park.

Anyone committing a breach of the orders will, according to the council, “be liable upon prosecution to a fine not exceeding level three on the standard scale (currently £1,000). A fixed penalty notice of £80 (maximum) may be issued as an alternative to prosecution”.

Temporary signage was erected in advance of the orders commencing.

Commenting on the issue, a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council indicated that the new pieces of legislation were advertised in advance.

“In late November, we also placed public notices in the local papers advising of the forthcoming changes, supplementing the press notices issued throughout the public consultation processes to date,” the spokesperson added. “We have also publicised the new Dog Control Orders through our website.”