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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007, 16:04 GMT
Dog walking ban for five or more
Great Dane pups generic (PA)
Owners could face 80 fixed-penalty notices
Dog lovers in Camden who walk more than four animals at a time face on-the-spot fines under a council crackdown.

The council also plans to introduce an 80 fixed penalty for owners who let their dogs off the lead on public streets, land and parks in the borough.

Ten special areas have been created for dog exercise and owners will be fined if they fail to remove dog mess.

The council said it would extend a consultation period with dog owners after criticism of the plans.

The Kennel Club urged owners to put their objections in quickly as three weeks of the four-week consultation period had already elapsed.

They said dog-owners' freedoms were in jeopardy and criticised the fact that all a council had to do to publicise the consultation period was to place an advertisement in a local newspaper.

Fixed-penalty tickets would mean we would not have to resort to the courts
Mike Greene, Camden Council

The councillor in charge of the scheme, Mike Greene, responded to the criticism that notices had not been put up in local parks for dog-walkers to see, by extending the period by a further fortnight.

He said Hampstead Heath would be exempt from the requirement that dogs should be kept on a lead at all times.

Mr Greene said they had had trouble with dogs in the borough in the past and were now trying to tackle the problem.

"Fixed-penalty tickets would mean we would not have to resort to the courts and people would not get a criminal record," he said.

Mixed reaction

He added that the scheme was not a money-making exercise, as the cost of enforcement would outweigh the income from it.

A council statement said they had 83 recorded incidents in Camden-run parks last year, ranging from owners not picking up dog mess, animals being exercised off the lead and fouling in children's play areas, to dogs attacking wildlife and children and owners.

Dog owners exercising their animals on Hampstead Heath on Sunday gave a mixed reaction to the proposals.

Professional dog walker and local resident Mike Harris - who often walks six dogs at a time - said limiting the number to four could put some of his colleagues out of business.

"I am insured to walk up to seven," he said.

"I think the best way of going about it would be for the council to licence dog owners and professional dog walkers to keep out the irresponsible people, rather than fining on the spot".


SEE ALSO
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02 Feb 07 |  Lincolnshire

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