April 2024

 

A positive start was made by the residents of Appleby, who were invited by the Town Council to attend a meeting on Thursday 18th April 2024, to discuss the various issues around dog fouling and dogs not under control. These concerns have been causing increasing challenges for many residents of the town for quite some time. The meeting was well attended by dog owners and non-dog owners alike, who were all keen to find solutions to the issues raised.

The numerous challenges and concerns were discussed at length and feedback forms were collected on the night as well as in the Tourist Information Centre afterwards. Alongside the issues of dog fouling, dogs off-lead and not under control, concerns were also raised around people, both adults and children, who are fearful of dogs. The point was made that this restricts their movements and enjoyment of the lovely riverside walks and the children’s playground.

Dog fouling is by far the most concerning for many residents, the river path and the football pitch area of King George V playing field being of particular concern. Matches cannot be started until a search has been done for the offending material, and likewise, the organisers of other sporting activities, which also take place on the field, face a similar challenge. However, the issue is widespread, and many of the streets in residential developments share a very similar experience.

The Town Council had previously formed a Working Party comprising of the three Councillors who were hosting the meeting. Their remit is to study legal requirements and respond to suggestions made by the community to develop a plan of action. A Westmorland and Furness Council leaflet, Public Spaces Protection Orders for Dog Owners, was provided to all attendees, and this underpinned the focus of the debate. Many fantastic ideas for improving the situation were forthcoming and it was clear that there was a great deal of enthusiasm for working towards finding a solution.

Appleby Town Council are keen to involve the community, and therefore attendees were invited to express their interest in joining the Working Party. It is hoped that, together, a workable solution can be found, leading to improvements all round that accommodate everyone’s needs. Appleby is a very dog friendly town, and all visitors, both human and canine, are warmly welcomed but clear guidelines are needed.

The Westmorland and Furness Council leaflet mentioned above, replaces the former Dog Control Orders which covered issues such as dog fouling, dogs on leads and dog exclusion areas. This clearly sets out the law as it currently stands and can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Appleby. It is vitally important that any incidence of dog offences are reported to Westmorland and Furness Council so that the extent of the issue is accurately recorded. There is also an online form to report dog fouling and include a photo as evidence. Prosecutions do take place and the Environment Enforcement Officer is actively seeking the public’s help in providing as much information as possible.

Appleby residents are also invited to share their own ideas for improvement by completing a short form which can be picked up from the TIC.

For further information please contact Councillor Paula Heap by email, cllrpheap@applebytown.org.uk, call into the TIC, or telephone them on 017683 51177.