We are currently reviewing the dog control rules that apply to public spaces within the Chichester District, and are keen to hear your thoughts.

Rules around dog fouling, dog exclusion areas, and areas in which a dog must be put on a lead when directed, are all outlined in a Public Space Protection Order. This is in place to help ensure everyone can enjoy the many beautiful open spaces and beaches we have in the district and to help protect wildlife.

We are proposing that the current Public Space Protection Order, which is due to end in October this year, continue for a further three years with a few minor changes. All of the areas covered by the proposed order, and areas where there is a change from the previous order, are outlined in the Frequently Asked Questions section on this page.

We would like your views about these proposals and invite you to take part in our quick survey, which will run from 17 July to 14 August 2020.

Please click here to take part in the survey.


Frequently asked questions

Q. What is a Public Space Protection Order?

A. A Public Space Protection Order (or PSPO) can be made by a local authority to address antisocial behaviour in public spaces. It can cover all public spaces in a district or a smaller defined area. A PSPO regulates activities that have a negative impact on the local community and, in this case, can enforce requirements and restrictions that encourage responsible dog ownership.

A PSPO lasts for up to three years, but can be extended for a further three years if it is still needed to address the antisocial behaviour. There is no limit to the number of times a PSPO can be extended in this way, but the council must review and then consult with people before making an extension or before making changes to the order.
 

Q. What sort of nuisance dog behaviour or activities does this PSPO deal with?

A. A PSPO can cover any persistent and unreasonable activity that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the local area. The impact of the activities needs to justify the restrictions being imposed, and the PSPO must state what the restricted activities and requirements are.

This particular PSPO deals with antisocial or nuisance behaviour associated with irresponsible dog ownership, and it has three parts:

1.    Fouling of Land by Dogs — which means that not clearing up after your dog in a public space is a crime.

2.    Dogs on Lead by Direction — which applies to areas where a dog should be put and kept on a lead when directed by an authorised officer.

3.    Exclusion of Dogs — this relates to some areas where dogs are not allowed, either all year round or for a part of the year.

 

Q. What are the proposals for this PSPO?

A. We know that most dog owners are responsible, but unfortunately there are a small number who do not pick up after their dog or allow them to run out of control. This Public Space Protection order means that we can tackle these issues, which can negatively affect our communities, our wildlife, and spoil people's enjoyment of our beaches and open spaces, while encouraging responsible dog ownership.

We are proposing to extend the current Public Space Protection Order, which is due to end in October this year, for a further three years with a few minor changes.

You can read the full proposal here, and view maps relating to the proposals. For information about how the proposed PSPO differs to the current rules, please see the next FAQ.

 

Q. How do the new PSPO proposals differ to the current Dog Control PSPO?

A. For the most part, the proposal is to keep the current rules. However, there are a few amendments being put forward and these are designed to address public feedback and take into account the council's experience in managing land and enforcement issues in relation to the current dog controls.

The changes are:
 

For Dog Fouling

  • Currently, the rules exclude areas beside roads with a speed limit of more than 40mph. There are some footpaths and cycleways in these areas that people have told us they use, so it is proposed that the dog fouling offence would apply to these areas as well. 
  • We are also suggesting that 'cycleways' are clearly specified in the order to make it clear that the a dog fouling offence would apply to these areas as well.
     

For Dog Exclusion areas

We are proposing to remove the seasonal 'no dog zones' at East Wittering and Bracklesham beaches, but keep the zone at Selsey:

  • At East Wittering beach, we propose removing the exclusion of dogs from the beach between Groynes A49 and A51 from May to September. The dog fouling offence and the requirement to put a dog on a lead when directed by an officer, will still apply.  
     
  • At Bracklesham beach, we propose removing the exclusion of dogs from the beach between Groynes A21 and A25 from May to September. The dog fouling offence and the requirement to put a dog on a lead when directed by a council officer will still apply.

       These maps show the current dog exclusion zones on East Wittering and Bracklesham beaches that the above changes refer to.

 

Q. Why are you consulting with people? 

A. We want the PSPO to address the problems it is set up to deal with and, as far as possible, avoid causing difficulties for people. This consultation gives people  who may be affected by the PSPO the chance to tell us their views about what we are proposing. This will help us make the final decision about what is included in the order. It is also a legal requirement that we consult before extending, or making changes to the order. 
 

Q. What do you mean by 'public space'?

A. By this we mean, land which is open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access within the Chichester District, except for Forestry Commission land.

The PSPO gives specific details about which particular areas of land are covered by the restrictions, with some maps that show restrictions in specific areas. For example, the order does not cover Forestry Commission land. It is worth noting that there are some privately owned areas that are also covered by the PSPO.

 

Q. When is it an offence to let your dog foul?

A. If someone fails to pick up their dog's mess in an area covered by the PSPO, this is an offence.The mess needs to be picked up straight away so dog walkers should always have enough bags on them when they walk their dogs. Urinating is not prohibited.

As a council, we have introduced a Green Dog Walkers scheme, which promotes responsible dog ownership in a friendly non-confrontational way. Those who sign up to the scheme volunteer to offer bags to other dog walkers who may have run out. You can find out more about this scheme on our Green Dog Walkers page.


Q. What does 'dogs on leads by direction' actually mean?

A.The PSPO requires a person in charge of a dog to put it on a lead, and keep it on a lead, when asked to do so by an authorised officer. The officers will only need to request this if there is evidence that a dog is not under control. For example, if it is behaving in a nuisance manner towards people, other dogs, or wildlife.  If the person does not comply, then they can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, or ultimately, face prosecution.


Q. Why not make an order that all dogs should be kept on a lead?

A.It is important for animal welfare that dogs are given suitable exercise and, for most dogs, this means being able to run.  Most dog owners keep control of their dogs and know when to keep their dog on a lead for safety or good manners.  The PSPO is aimed at dealing with nuisance dog behaviour. 


Q. What about disabled dog walkers who may not be able to comply with the order?

A.If a person is registered blind under Section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948, then the PSPO does not apply. If a person has a disability that affects their mobility, manual dexterity, physical coordination, or their ability to lift, carry or move everyday objects, and the dog they are in charge of is one they rely on for assistance (trained by a specialised charity), then the PSPO does not apply.


Q. What is a Fixed Penalty Notice and how much is it?

A. This is a notice issued by an authorised officer for some types of offence.  The person served with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) has an opportunity to pay a fine rather than face prosecution. The penalty is £100, reduced to £75 if paid within 14 days.

There is no formal right to appeal against an FPN. If someone does not agree that they committed the offence, they can decide not to pay the FPN and the matter would then be decided by a court. It will then be up to the court, on hearing the evidence, to determine whether or not an offence was committed and whether or not any penalty should be imposed. The maximum penalty on conviction is £1000. Failure to discharge the offence by paying the Fixed Penalty Notice may result in prosecution.


Q. Who enforces the PSPO?

A. Any officer authorised by the council can enforce the PSPO. Our Foreshores team carry out the majority of enforcement in our coastal and beach areas.

We also work with Litter Enforcement Officers from East Hampshire District Council, who carry out enforcement across the district. You can find out more about this work, and about our Against Litter campaign to tackle issues of litter and dog fouling in  the district on our Against Litter page. One of the amendments we are proposing will enable the Litter Enforcement Officers to enforce all aspects of the dog control PSPO, and not just dog fouling.  This gives us more officers to deal with dog control issues.


Q. Why have dog exclusion areas?

A. Dogs are allowed in nearly all public spaces, but it is generally considered beneficial to have some designated areas where people can exercise or spend leisure time without dogs. For example, children's play areas.


Q. Why are you proposing to remove the dog exclusion areas at East Wittering and Bracklesham beaches?

A. At low tide, there is nowhere to place signs showing where the dog exclusion areas begin and end. This means that people can easily walk their dog across the beach into the dog exclusion area without realising, which causes confusion for people.

Our officers regularly speak to dog walkers on our beaches who have started their walk outside the zones, and then inadvertently walked into a 'no dog zone', unaware of the restrictions. 

We can still address problem dog behaviour in these areas because the 'dogs on leads by direction' and 'dog fouling' aspects of the PSPO will still apply. This is consistent with the rest of the beach so it will be clear that nuisance dog behaviour is not acceptable anywhere on the beaches.


Q. Why keep the dog exclusion area on Selsey beach?

A. Selsey beach is a different layout, with higher groynes at low tide. This gives a much clearer boundary for people who want to avoid dogs, and to find the area they want to use.  It is also much easier for dog walkers to understand where the dog exclusion areas start and finish.   We are proposing to further improve the signage for the new PSPO. 


Q. Why is Forestry Commission land not covered by the PSPO?

A. There is legislation that stops the order covering Forestry Commission Land.


Q. Who makes the final decision about the PSPO?

A. Feedback from the consultation will feed into our recommendations and help inform our final proposal. This will then be presented to the council's Environment Panel for consideration before being taken to the council's Cabinet for a final decision in September.


Q. When would the extension, with proposed changes, come into force?

A. October 2020.


Q. Where can I find more information?

A. You can find more information, including details of the current PSPO, on our dog advice and information page.