Controversial summer dog restrictions proposed for parts of North Devon

North Devon Council has announced a raft of seasonal dog restrictions that it intends to consult the public on. Credit: PA

Controversial summer dog bans have been proposed in North Devon - much to the dismay of some local pet owners.

North Devon Council has proposed to consult on a number of restrictions, including banning dogs on amenity beaches during the summer.

If approved, the measures - which councillors will discuss at a meeting next week - could see fines of up to £100 issued to anyone caught breaching the restrictions.

People could face fines of up to £100 for breaching the restrictions, if they were imposed. Credit: PA

The restrictions will form part of a district-wide Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which will cover:

  • not allowing dogs off lead to enter any enclosed children’s play area or public cemetery

  • restricting the presence of dogs on the amenity beaches of Saunton Sands, Woolacombe, Putsborough, Instow, Croyde and Combe Martin to specific areas between May 1 and September 30.

  • restricting the presence of dogs on sports pitches, the Tarka Trail, Braunton Burrows, and Taw Estuary High Tide Roosting Sites.

  • requiring a person in charge of a dog on land to which the Order applies, to place the dog on a lead as directed

  • requiring a person in charge of a dog who has defecated on land to which the Order applies, to remove the faeces from the land forthwith.

The PSPO would also be enforceable on other privately-owned land in North Devon, if individual landowners agreed to install council-approved signage.

Next week’s meeting will determine whether councillors want to put the proposals out to consultation, which will allow members of the public to share their views.

Councillors will discuss the proposals - and whether to put them out to consultation - at a meeting next week. Credit: PA

How have dog owners reacted so far?

A number of dog walkers have reacted angrily to the proposals - branding them “ridiculous”.

Posting online, one owner wrote: "Holidaymakers bring their dogs as well as the locals who love these areas.

"I understand the main family beaches being restricted in high season & sports pitches, but the burrows, estuary and Tarka Trail is stupid."

Another said it was discriminating against dog owners, adding: "This is for the small amount of people who don't pick up after their dog or are not a sensible dog owner, why punish the rest of us?

"Ridiculous. I'll just make my dog run round in circles in my back garden then shall I?"

While some North Devon beaches already operate seasonal dog restrictions, similar rules introduced at Instow in 2018 had to be lifted just a year later following a backlash from residents.

The proposals have divided opinion among residents in North Devon. Credit: PA

The latest proposals would apply to Instow, however - and some people are not happy.

One person commented: "Seriously, Instow beach [and] Tarka Trail? Dogs need exercising, why on earth with everything going on in the world are they trying to make life harder?

"I know I would never use Instow for anything but dog walking. The beach is totally unsuitable for anything else."