Dogs: Public Spaces Protection Orders

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th September 2020.

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Photo of Jane Hunt Jane Hunt Conservative, Loughborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the efficacy of Public Space Protection Orders regarding dog control as a tool for encouraging responsible dog ownership.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014 each individual Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) should be reviewed every three years by the relevant local authority. This allows PSPOs to be assessed for their efficacy and to be possibly amended or cancelled.

In addition to PSPOs there are other tools that police and local authorities can use to control dogs and encourage responsible ownership. The 2014 Act includes specific measures to enable the police and local authorities to tackle irresponsible dog ownership before a dog attack occurs. The main tool to combat this form of irresponsible dog ownership is the Community Protection Notice (CPN). CPNs can be issued by local authority officers or the police on dog owners, or anyone temporarily in charge of a dog at the time of an incident, where dogs are behaving in an unruly way; for example, if a dog is running loose in a park and threatening children, or where a dog threatens, or is allowed to attack another dog.

The CPN could require the dog’s owner, or the person in charge of it, to take appropriate action to prevent a reoccurrence of the offending behaviour. To breach a CPN is a criminal offence and could lead to a significant penalty. The Government is determined to crack down on irresponsible dog ownership and to that end we are encouraging police forces across the country to use these new tools.

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