'Dogs on leads' order between Ballintoy Harbour and Whitepark Bay to come into effect on April 1
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A report was presented to councillors at a meeting of the Environmental Services Committee on January 16.
It follows a decision by the committee in November last year to make a dog control order, requiring dogs to be on leads at all times in the land between Ballintoy Harbour and Whitepark Bay, whether there livestock is present or not.
According to the report, any person in charge of a dog is guilty of an offence if, at any time, they do not keep the dog on a lead, unless they have a “reasonable excuse for doing so” or the owner or occupier of the land has given them permission.
The report explained that in order to enact the order, the council must, where practicable, “place signs summarising the order in conspicuous positions on or near the land in respect of which it applies”. The council is also required to publicise the introduction of new order.
Causeway UUP Alderman Sandra Hunter questioned whether the council needed until April to apply the order, as she felt a March deadline, which would enforce the order before lambing season, might be “doable”.
Officers explained: “The extra month allows for a ‘soft launch’, where we would maybe patrol the area and speak to dog owners to tell them verbally before an official order. It avoids going straight to enforcement and allows for publicity and getting the message out to the public.”