Rules on dogs in public spaces to be reviewed by Dorset Council

A public consultation has started on a new dog-related Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which sets the rules for dog owners on areas of public accessible land including Swanage Main Beach and Studland beaches.

The first Dorset Council dog-related PSPO, identifying where, when, and how dogs can use green spaces and beaches, came into force across the Dorset Council area in January 2021 and is due to expire at the end of 2023.

Dog signs

The rules for Swanage Main Beach are clearly displayed

Should current rules be modified?

The legally enforceable PSPO, while only introduced in 2021, broadly adopted local bylaws on dogs that had been in place for many years.

However now is a chance for residents, business owners, organisations and visitors to have their say on whether the rules, which includes dog fouling and lead lengths, should be modified.

Swanage Main Beach

  • Dogs are not allowed on the beach between the 1st May and 30th September
  • During the rest of the year, dogs are allowed on the beach and do not need to be on a lead
  • Dogs should be on leads in areas surrounding the beach, including pavements at all times of the year

Studland beaches

  • Dogs are allowed on the beaches all year round, but during the summer months (1st May to 30th September), dogs must be kept on a lead
  • Dogs must be on a lead in the car park and roads leading to the beach at all times of the year
Dog signs

Dogs are allowed on the beaches in Studland all year round but must be on a lead during the summer

Primarily in place to protect human health

Dorset Council says that the PSPO is primarily in place to protect human health with dog fouling not only unpleasant but potentially dangerous.

Human contact with dog excrement can cause an infection called toxocariasis that can lead to dizziness, nausea, asthma and even blindness or seizures.

This order gives protection to public spaces that are used by a range of activities including sports fields, playgrounds, and beaches.

Dog on South Beach in Studland

Dogs on a lead are allowed on the beach during the summer in Studland but not at Swanage’s Main Beach

“I know how important it is to exercise your pup responsibly”

Councillor Laura Beddow, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for culture and communities said:

“As a dog owner myself, I know how important it is to exercise your pup responsibly. There are an amazing variety of places to walk dogs, without the need to use public spaces where children and families spend time.

“The consultation will gather information from dog and non-dog owners, residents and visitors and other organisations such as town and parish councils. All this information will be considered to make the new PSPO.”

The consultation will finish on 25th August with the final recommendations for the new PSPO considered by Dorset Council’s place and resources overview committee and Cabinet before being implemented.

Further information

  • Give your views by starting the consultation online
  • Paper copies are available in Dorset libraries or on request by calling 01305 221000
  • Read the current Dorset Council dog-related PSPO

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