The Council is reminding dog owners in South Ayrshire to act responsibly through its Respect South Ayrshire campaign which encourages owners to keep their dogs under control and to clean up after them.
When owners fail to do this, the Council will take necessary action such as issuing fixed penalty notices for dog fouling, written warnings telling owners to control their dogs and Dog Control Notices – the first of which has now been issued by the Council.
Dog Control Notices are issued under the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010. This makes it a requirement for dogs to be kept under control not only in public areas, but also in private gardens. The police can also take action where appropriate under the Dangerous Dogs Act
The Council's first Dog Control Notice places a permanent duty on the owner of the dog to keep it under control at all times.
The notice – issued to a dog owner in the Carrick area – follows an attack on a 9-year-old boy in June. The boy had entered a garden to retrieve a football, when he was attacked by a large dog on his way out. The boy was badly bitten and required hospital treatment, but is now making a good physical recovery.
Receiving a Dog Control Notice means the owner has to keep their dog under control at all times. Conditions can include:
- Muzzling the dog whenever it is in a place to which the public have access.
- Keeping the dog on a lead whenever it is in a place to which the public have access.
- The neutering of male dogs.
- The owner and their dog attending and completing a dog behaviour course.
Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and the Environment Portfolio Holder for the Council said: "We want all dog owners to respect South Ayrshire and we will not tolerate anyone who allows their dog to foul, misbehave or – in this case – attack a young child.
"We work hard in schools to teach young people about the responsibility that goes along with owning a dog, and we also speak to lots of groups who want information about dogs.
"Thankfully, incidents like this attack are few and far between, but we all have a part to play in ensuring it can't happen again and we will take appropriate action where necessary.
"Owning a dog brings many joys – and responsibilities – and we will not hesitate to do our bit to ensure we can keep our people and communities safe."
Dog owners must comply with a Dog Control Notice. Contravention of the conditions is a criminal offence which would be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.
Further information on how you can help the Respect South Ayrshire campaign is available at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/respect