Plans to ban dogs from playgrounds, multi use games areas and bowling greens are to be considered by councillors.
The proposal for a dog control public space protection order (PSPO) would see canines barred from the relevant parts of:
- Ashton Park, Marine Park, Newton Park and Victoria Gardens in West Kirby
- Thorsway in Caldy
- Queens Park, Grove and Carr Lane playgrounds in Hoylake
- Meols Park and Meols Parade Gardens
Dogs would also need to be kept on leads in picnic areas at Wirral Country Park and campsite in Thurstaston, Grange Cemetery in West Kirby and Frankby Cemetery.
Dogs are already banned from some places – such as children’s play areas – under existing by-laws, but the council believes using a PSPO “would ensure a consistent approach and enable authorised or delegated officers to deal with offences in a timely manner”.
It is also expected that the new scheme would be vigorously enforced, with owners liable for a fine from officers working for the council’s contractor, Kingdom.
A consultation carried out by the council, which attracted almost 9,000 responses, shows majority support for each of the measures proposed. Almost three quarters of those who responded are dog owners.
An earlier proposal to ban dogs from some stretches of beach, including in West Kirby, from May to September,was scrapped following a storm of protest from owners.
A report, to a special meeting of the environment overview and scrutiny committee being held on Tuesday 15 January, says: “The proposed dog control measures have been developed in response to extensive resident feedback expressing concern at the levels of dog fouling and dog nuisance in Wirral.
“It is clear that this feedback is related to a small minority of dog owners and is by no means a reflection of the behaviour of many thousands of dog owners in the borough.
“Members of all parties will also be aware that this is an issue which prompts hundreds of complaints from residents every year, either direct to the Council, on social media, through the local press or through Member surgeries and community outreach.
“These proposals are a key part of our response to this feedback, and a genuine effort to keep defined areas of Wirral’s parks, beaches and open spaces completely free of dog fouling and dog nuisance.”
If approved, the scheme would be introduced for three years from 1 April 2019.