Re: South Northamptonshire Council - Animal Welfare and Dog Control
At a recent South Northamptonshire Council Cabinet meeting, Councillors requested that information on powers which are available to parish councils to enforce certain provisions of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 be forwarded to you.
I am therefore writing to you to provide references for the guidance on this legislation, together with some useful background information (Appendix 1), should you wish to consider this option which gives communities the power to tackle environmental offences at a local level.
In particular, with a certain amount of preparation, resource and training, the legislation allows parish councils to authorise officers to issue fixed penalty notices for offences relating to Dog Control Orders.
I also thought it would be useful to update you on the local authority’s animal welfare duties as a handy guide for your community.
The Council has a duty to collect and detain stray dogs. These can be reported to our Business Support Team on 01327 322323. The Council has no statutory duty to investigate complaints about dangerous dogs including banned breeds, livestock worrying or dogs dangerously out of control. These complaints are dealt with by Northamptonshire Police.
The Council cannot deal with attacks by dogs on other dogs. This is covered by the Dogs Act 1871. This civil legislation can be used by members of the public to take private action where their dog is attacked by another. It is recommended that further advice is sought from a solicitor or from pet insurance companies.
Enforcement of Dog Control Orders
Prior to the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, local authorities, including parish councils, could make byelaws to control dogs on certain areas of land, for example, to control dog fouling and to ban dogs either permanently or at certain times of the year. This way of doing things has always been both costly and complicated to administer for local authorities, parish councils and Government. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act replaced the previous system of byelaws with a new system of ‘Dog Control Orders’.
The five offences under a Dog Control Order can be:
- Failing to remove faeces;
- Not keeping a dog on a lead (the council may prescribe in the Order the maximum length of lead);
- Not putting, and keeping, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer;
- Permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded;
- Taking more than the specified number of dogs (which a person may take) onto land.
South Northamptonshire Council adopted the first four orders above on 1st April 2009. Further detail on each offence is provided in Appendix 2
Work relating to Dog Control Orders and stray dogs was previously carried out by the Council Animal Welfare Officer. As part of a cost reduction exercise this post was deleted in April 2011. This means that whilst you can be reassured that the Council will continue to fulfil its statutory duties there are no longer resources to carry out the promotional and proactive work which were associated with that post.
The Council will continue to enforce the requirements of the Dog Control Orders.
- strictly planned monitoring based on significant reliable evidence (including, for example, notification of fouling occurring at regular times);
- issue of a fixed penalty notice for a witnessed offence where there is sufficient and reliable evidence from a parish council/member of the public or authorised Council officer to do so
The information in Appendix 1 provides information on how parish councils can also enforce the requirements of Dog Control Orders by issuing their own fixed penalty notices for offences.
It is not intended that this will replace the Council’s statutory duty but by implementing the powers parish councils can complement the Council’s work which will result in improved quality of life for our residents.
Should you wish to consider implementing these powers it is essential that you refer to the guidance document “Getting to grips with the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 – a parish guide to environmental enforcement” (PB 11577a) from DEFRA. (To assist you I have included a number of key points from the guidance in Appendix 1)
I hope that this has provided you with a useful update and information on the powers available to you.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any clarification or further information.
As I am on leave until 1 August queries may be directed to the Environmental Health Business Support who will ensure that an officer will respond to you in my absence.
Environmental Health Manager
SOUTH NORTHAMPTONSHIRE COUNCIL
PEST CONTROL SERVICE
Type of Pest
We also offer good value for money contracts which provide all the year round peace of mind for businesses.
In the near future we intend to introduce additional pest control services.
We would like to hear your views on whether this would be something that you would be interested in. In particular we would be interested in any demand for the following pest control services;
- Lease of Ultra Violet Fly Killers (including annual maintenance)
For further information about new services and to register your views email: email@example.com