Farnham Town Council is asking for people’s views on the introduction of dog control orders in the council’s cemeteries at West Street, Green Lane, Badshot Lea and Hale.

If introduced, the orders will make it an offence for those in charge of a dog not to remove dog poo and it will become a requirement for dogs to be kept on a lead that is not longer than one metre in length. Dogs will be restricted to the cemeteries’ formal pathways and, with the exception of guide dogs, hearing dogs for the deaf and assistance dogs for the disabled, dogs will not be allowed to stray onto grassed areas. If a dog is not on a lead, authorised officers will be able to require that it is put on and kept on a lead.

Councillor Carole Cockburn, Lead Member for Cemeteries says: “We aim to ensure that our cemeteries remain pleasant places for all to enjoy, while retaining respect for all those buried there and for the families visiting the graves of their loved ones.

“Unfortunately we have seen an increase in the number of irresponsible dog owners, who seem to have little respect for either the environment or the sensitivities of others. Dogs have been allowed to stray over treasured graves and even to foul many parts of the cemetery.

“This is upsetting for bereaved relatives and most unpleasant for the staff, who work in our cemeteries. We hope that the introduction of the dog control orders will deter irresponsible owners from using the cemeteries.”

Dog control orders were introduced by the government in 2006 and are part of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act. The Act is designed to help local authorities clean up their towns.

If introduced, the dog control orders will provide Farnham Town Council with powers to deal with irresponsible dog owners more effectively. Anybody breaching the orders will face a fixed penalty fine of £75. Failure to pay the fixed penalty notice may lead to prosecution and a maximum penalty of £1,000 in the Magistrates’ court.

Anybody wishing to comment on the proposed dog control orders should complete the online consultation survey. Comments should be returned to Farnham Town Council, South Street Farnham, GU9 7RN by no later than 5pm on Friday 17 January 2014.

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