Hundreds sign petition over dog control orders

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Carrick pet owners are demanding a rethink over proposals to introduce dog control orders in the town.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is currently running a consultation on the plans, which aim to tackle irresponsible dog ownership.

Control orders enable councils to ban dogs from areas such as children’s play parks and playing fields, restricting access to beaches during peak holiday season.

They require dogs to be on a lead in public places and within council-owned cemeteries, or when directed to do so by a council enforcement officer.

The ban could extend to some 27 public spaces, including Marine Gardens, Diamond Jubilee Wood, Oakfield Glen and a number of children’s play parks.

Speaking on the BBC’s Talkback programme yesterday, MEA Director of Operations Philip Thompson indicated that several of the locations had a history of dog fouling issues.

An online petition urging the council to rescind the proposals with immediate effect has gone viral, gathering almost 3000 signatures in two days.

However, MEA Council has stressed that the proposals are still at the consultation stage.

“Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is currently out to public consultation on banning dogs from children’s play parks and sports pitches,” a statement from the local authority read.

“Under the proposals dogs will still be permitted to be walked in all other council’s facilities and council will continue to encourage responsible dog ownership in line with the Dogs Control legislation and ensure areas are minimised from dog fouling.

“Council is currently out to a four week consultation on the proposals to take the public’s views on board in relation to dogs being banned from children’s play parks and sports pitches, with the ultimate goal of reducing dog fouling in these areas that see high usage by children, young people and adults.

“Following the consultation, council will consider the views of the public and make their final decision.”

A ‘drop-in clinic’ was held at Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre yesterday, with the aim of gathering feedback from local residents.

Another clinic will be held at the centre on June 3 from 4pm–9pm.