"I myself live with six, and I've friends who have 12!"
Our Dog Warden Russ loves animals, especially dogs, and takes his responsibilities very seriously. Russ deals with stray dogs, investigating complaints, enforces laws and regular patrolling within Adur and Worthing, and also shares his thoughts on the role with us in his weekly blogs with this week's blog his 100th!
Read his latest blog below…
I can’t believe it’s 2 years ago this month that my then head of service Andy Edwards approached me in our office and said “Hi Russ, how do you fancy doing a few blogs?
Usually I decide on the topic of each blog, but occasionally I’m asked to speak about a specific subject or problem and this week I’ve been asked to revisit the Public Space Protection Orders which give us our powers to issue fixed penalty notices.
One of the things that divides opinion is the policing of the Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), which were formerly known as Dog Control Orders and historically Byelaws.
There are five PSPOs concerning dogs that authorised officers can enforce.
I often hear and read people complaining about the restrictions on dogs in the town. I have even heard Worthing described as anti-dog or not dog friendly but as the owner of multiple dogs I can categorically state nothing can be further from the truth.
So, in the first part of two blogs, I’ll take a look at the rules and why they are in place.
Walking more than six dogs in an area where the order applies
Historically we used to receive complaints of people driving up to beauty spot car parks, opening the doors and several dogs jumping out and running off in all directions defecating and generally causing chaos.
So after much discussion the limit of six was introduced. Some councils have a limit of four dogs and you may remember that just last year the council proposed reducing the number from 6 to 4 in Adur & Worthing. However after the public consultation the public vote of 52% / 48% went against the proposal and so the plan was dropped.
Some people believe that the original limit of 6 was brought in because of the rise in the number of professional dog walkers in the area but this is not the case. We work closely with the professional dog walkers to maintain standards.
Most take their responsibilities very seriously and are proud of the service they provide to their clients and the quality of life they give to the dogs that would otherwise be indoors all day while their owners go to work.
The limit is intended just to make things more harmonious for everyone. I know several people that have six or more dogs of their own – I myself live with six and I've friends who have 12!
Failing to have your dog on a lead in an area where the order applies.
This refers to areas of land where dogs must be held on a lead at all times. Areas include the promenade from Windsor Road to George V Avenue, some parks and gardens, including Palantine Park, Beach House Park, Field Place. All cemeteries, allotments, Worthing pier and Widewater Lagoon.
The promenade is a safety issue – a dog running along with pedestrians and cyclists is a recipe for disaster. I've witnessed a rider go over his handlebars trying to avoid a dog and he broke his collarbone, the bike damaged and the dog injured.
Palatine Park is used by Worthing Town FC and was redeveloped in 2012 at a cost of some £1.6 million pounds funded by the Council with assistance to the tune of over £450,000 from the Football Foundation. It was agreed. There was a compromise that dogs would still be allowed on the site. Players regularly complain that before training and matches they have to do a poo pick up off the pitch. Something they shouldn't have to do and if everyone behaved responsibly, something they wouldn't have to do. The situation is similar in other parks across Adur & Worthing which are used for sports.
As for cemeteries, I'd like to think none of us like the thought of dogs running loose around our loved ones graves – not to mention defecating or urinating over them.
The council groundsmen work so hard maintaining flower beds, bowling green’s etc and to see dogs being allowed to run across the greens and flower beds is so frustrating for them. I've witnessed a man using a ball chucker in Marine Gardens encouraging his dog onto the pitch and putt green; yet 50 yards away he had the whole beach at his disposal. Is this rule unreasonable? I don't think so.
Also covered by this rule is this Order applies to all public roads, pavements and grass verges, which are within 4 metres of the carriageway and are maintainable at public expense and which are subject to a speed limit of 40mph or less.
Next week I'll focus on the other three rules that we have in place across Adur & Worthing the district. Until then take care."