Public Spaces Protection Order Dogs and Dog Control - FAQs

The Public Space Protection Order for Dogs and Dog Control is in force across the whole borough of Doncaster and applies to all land that the public has reasonable access to.

Frequently asked questions

Please see the following frequently asked questions surrounding the Public Spaces Protection Order relating to dogs and dog control.

General Questions

Why Introduce a Public Space Protection Order?

The vast majority of the dog owners are responsible and caring; however a small minority do not always behave responsibly. Feedback from local residents has consistently raised the issue of dog fouling and nuisance behaviour from dogs that are not under proper control. The adoption of this proposed order will make it easier for the authority to deal quickly and efficiently with the small minority of dog owners who behave irresponsibly, while at the same time encouraging a culture of responsible dog ownership. This order, along with our ongoing Cleaner green campaign, will bring a number of benefits, including the creation of a cleaner environment, reduction of health problems associated with dog faeces and the promotion of responsible dog ownership. It represents a modern and effective way of enforcement when required and provide a common sense method of dealing with an issue of constant concern for our residents.

What happens if I fail to Comply with order?

If the person in charge of a dog fails to comply with the requirements of the order, they will be committing a criminal offence and will be issued with £100 fixed penalty unless:-
a) they have the consent from the owner, occupier or person in charge of the land, not to comply with the order;
b) they have a reasonable excuse for failing to comply; or
c) they fall within one of the other exemptions within the order, such as the exemptions in the order for disabled people, assistance dogs and working dogs.

Who is considered to be in charge of the dog?

The person who normally has a dog in their possession is deemed to be in charge of the dog at any time, unless at that time of the offence, some other person is in charge of the dog.
This means that if your dog defecates in a public place or enter in to a children’s play area you will be responsible for it, unless you can show that somebody else was in charge of the dog at that time. If you have allowed someone else take your dog out for a walk, they will be in charge of it for the duration of the walk.

Can I be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice?

Yes, a fixed penalty notice may be issued to a person who breaches this order, offering them an opportunity of avoid prosecution by paying a Fixed Penalty of up to £100. In most cases, the Council will issue a fixed penalty notice to someone who breaches the order. However, we may decide to prosecute them instead, if we consider it more appropriate to do so. For example, we may consider prosecuting someone rather than issuing a fixed penalty notice if they behave inappropriately towards our enforcement officers, or if they have previously been issued with a fixed penalty notice for similar behaviour.

What happens if I don’t pay my Fixed Penalty?

If you fail to pay the fixed penalty, it is likely that you will be prosecuted in the magistrates’ court.

What is the maximum Penalty for breaching the Order?

A person who is found guilty of an offence in the Magistrates’ Court is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the Court’s standard scale of fines (currently £1,000).

 Dog Fouling

What does this part of order require?

 The Order will require the person in charge of a dog to clean up after it immediately, if their dog defecates on any land where the order applies.

 Why clean up after your dog?

Besides the unpleasant smell and the mess caused when it gets on pram wheels, wheelchairs, shoes and clothing, there is a potential health risk associated with dog faeces.

What land will this apply to?

The requirement to clean up after your dog will apply to all public places in the Doncaster Borough. This means any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on pavement or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.

Does this apply to land that is not owned by Doncaster Council?

Yes, the requirement to clean up after your dog will apply to all public land that falls within the description set out above, including areas of land in private ownership that are used by the public (or a section of the public).

Are rights of way covered?

Yes, public rights of way qualify as land which is open to air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access.

Some footpaths go across private land but the public have a right to be using them. Is it correct that a Fixed Penalty Notice could be issued for a dog fouling actually on the route of a footpath? 

Yes.

Where should I dispose of dog waste?

If your dog defecates on public land, the bagged dog waste can be placed in any public litter, dog waste bin or household waste bin.

  Leads by order

What does this part of the order require?

A person in charge of a dog will be asked to put their dog on a lead in areas that have risk to the well being of the public and wildlife in the specific area’s covered in the order.

When can I be asked to put my dog on a lead?

An authorised officer may only give a direction under this order if such restraint is reasonably necessary to prevent a nuisance or behaviour by the dog that is likely to cause annoyance or disturbance to any other person, or to a bird or another animal.

Who can issue a direction, requiring a dog to be put on a lead?

The direction can be given by "an authorised officer of the Council". This has a wide meaning and means any person who is authorised in writing by the Council for the purpose of giving directions under the Order. This can include a person who is not an employee of the Council, such as employees of a contractor or a partner agency.

Where does this order apply?

This prohibition would be in force across the entire borough of Doncaster.

Why does the council want to be able to do this?

We want to do this to bring greater clarity and consistency to benefit all our residents. The prohibitions have been designed to be as simple as possible, clearly outlining expectations within our community

 Dog exclusion

What does this part of the order require?

This part of the order excludes dogs from all outdoor, enclosed children’s play areas within the borough of Doncaster, and will be enforced where the Council has erected signage to say that dogs are prohibited.

What is a children’s play area?

A children’s play area, is an area that is set aside for children to play in and that contains children’s play equipment such as slides, swings, climbing frames and other similar apparatus.

Where does the order apply?

This Part of the Order applies to all enclosed children’s play areas in the Doncaster Council that are open to the air and will be enforced where these have been identified as areas where dogs are prohibited by appropriate signage erected by or on behalf of the Council. For these purposes, land which is covered is to be treated as land which is "open to the air" if it is open on at least one side. The order only applies to outdoor children’s play areas that are enclosed on all sides by fences, gates, walls or other structures that mark the boundary of the play area. This will make it easy for people to identify the extent of the area where dogs are not allowed. If there is a children’s play area within your local park that is fenced off from the rest of the park, dogs will not be allowed in to the fenced off play area. This will not stop you from taking dogs in to the rest of the park.

Why does the Council want to exclude dogs from enclosed children’s play areas?

The Council believes that children should be free to play on the play equipment provided in these areas without the fear of treading in or coming into contact with dog faeces. Dogs taken in to children’s play areas can also become aggressive if startled.

 Leads must be worn 

What does this part of the order require?

This part of the order requires a person in charge of a dog on certain land to keep it on a lead.

Where does the order apply?

This requirement would be in force within the following areas

  • All cemeteries and churchyards, including green burial areas;
  • All footpaths around lakes and ponds;
  • All sports grounds, fields, parks, and pitches, which are maintained by the local authority and are not subject to ‘Dog Exclusion’, but only when in use for organised authorised events. These include gala’s, fairs, sporting matches, charitable events (e.g. race for life).

 Means to pick up

What does this part of the order require?

A person in charge of a dog on land to which this order applies must have and produce on request the appropriate means to pick up dog faeces deposited by that dog.

What if I’m asked to show a dog poop bag and I refuse? Do Council officers have powers of stop and search?

Officers have no powers of stop and search – but it is an offence to fail to produce a bag or other means for picking up after your dog when asked by an authorised officer. The officer will ask for your name and address and issue a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £100, if you refuse or are unable to produce a bag. People are reminded it is a criminal offence to obstruct an authorised officer in their duty.

I only take one bag out with me on a walk – what if I am approached after I’ve used it?

We would urge dog owners to take a handful of bags with them on every walk – you never know when your dog might decide to go twice. However, officers will take a common-sense approach to the new powers. The FPN’s are not in place as a money-making scheme or to ‘catch-out’ responsible owners.

Get in touch

If after reading this you still have questions please email fpn@doncaster.gov.uk

Last updated: 04 December 2017 08:41:50