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Torridge District Council to Focus on Rising Nuisance Dogs in Victoria Park Bideford

Victoria Park, Nuisance Dogs. Torridge District Council.

Nuisance dogs are set to be at the centre of a Torridge District Council campaign. The renewed campaign is designed to clampdown on rising dog nuisances in Victoria Park. The park, named to celebrate the reign of Queen Victoria, is in the centre of Bideford. This location is a convenient place for residents to access facilities such as a playground complex, paddling pool, football, rugby and general sport pitches, which is used by local families and visitors alike.

The park has been at the centre of a rising number of complaints about dogs being allowed to run free off their leads and causing disturbance to other users. In response, disturbance officer patrols have been dispatched on numerous occasions to speak to the owners to abide by rules set out by a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), that is covered by the park, and place their dogs on a lead.

This PSPO covers fouling, dogs on leads and dog exemption areas. Only two places in the district require dogs to be kept on a lead at all times and one of those places is Victoria Park.

control of dogs victoria park v2 crop
(Image, Torridge District Council)

Tactics to counteract nuisance dogs

Torridge District Council has announced that spot fines will be enforced in the near future. If a visitor disobeys the order, which are already in place as part of the district-wide PSPO, they will be subject to a fine of £100. The PSPOs are a strategy used to combat anti-social behaviour (ASB) and its impact on both individuals and communities. This council-led initiative is intended to forbid specific behaviours or impose obligations on individuals who engage in particular behaviours in a specific area, in this case Victoria Park.

The purpose of the designation is to allow visitors of all ages and backgrounds a space to enjoy the park, without being upset or pestered by other people’s dogs. In the area there are other connected parks such as the King George V Playing fields as well as rugby pitches, where owners can take their dogs to roam freely with a requirement that owners also clean up after their pets. 

 

Torridge District Councils stance on nuisance dogs

The Councils Head of Legal and Governance, Staci Dorey has said: 

“Those of us that own and love our dogs must remember that not everyone will feel the same way, and many people are genuinely scared of dogs, however friendly they may be.

“In the coming months, we will have zero tolerance to dogs being off lead in Victoria Park and offenders will be issued with an immediate fine of £100 if seen ignoring the signage and rules of the order. Owners can still use the designated areas to let their dogs roam freely, but here again, we expect them to clean up after their pets.”

This requirement for the dog leads has been made clear at every park entry with new signage. And it has been reinforced with signs on trash cans and other crucial locations. There are areas where dogs can be let off the lead as well.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right balance of pleasing all members of the public can be difficult. On one hand you have dog owners who often take to parks and utilise these spaces to allow their dogs to be free, and on the other you have members of the community who also take to parks to enjoy the facilities provided. In the case of Victoria Park this issue needs to be challenged as there are enough zones around the district for dog owners to visit. Furthermore, you also need to consider the majority of the public who have made complaints through the right channels to tackle this issue.

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