Dog ‘no go’ areas under consideration

Ballymena Town Hall. Editorial image.
Ballymena Town Hall. Editorial image.

The public in Ballymena is being asked to give their views on new dog control orders - and how they could be implemented.

Whatever your views on Dog Control, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council would like to hear them in a bid to help promote and enhance responsible dog ownership.

Explaining the new initiative, Mayor Billy Ashe said: “In an effort to tackle the problem and improve the areas that we live in and visit, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, like many neighbouring councils, propose to implement Dog Control Orders.

“To accommodate a wide range of opinions, a consultation period will open from Tuesday, May 19 until Friday, June 19,” he added.

Behaviour such as failing to clean up after a dog or failing to keep a dog under control, continues to affect many areas and in particular, footpaths, parks and playing fields.

While dog faeces are an unpleasant mess, in some instances, it can contain Toxocara canis, a small roundworm that can cause illness and even blindness in humans. In addition to the health risk posed, it also requires sufficient resources to clean up this mess, with the cost inevitably falling to ratepayers.

Dog Control Orders are additional powers available to councils to tackle such problems by excluding dogs from certain areas of land such as play parks and playing fields and also require dogs to be on a lead on certain public places.

Anyone found contravening an order will be liable to pay a Fixed Penalty fine of £80 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days) or could be fined up to £1,000 if convicted in a court.

Comment slips will be provided for anyone wishing to make representation while for anyone wishing to discuss the contents with a council officer, Drop-in Clinics in council premises including The Braid on Wednesday, May 27, from 4-9pm, and at Ardeevin on June 3, from 9am-6pm.

Comments can also be emailed to dogcontrol@midandeastantrim.gov.uk until June 19.