A CONSULTATION has got underway to determine whether dogs should continue to be excluded from children’s play areas across the Dudley borough.

The existing Pubic Space Protection Order (PSPO) which has been in place since 2018 replaced all dog control legislation in the borough, and included a new restriction in regard to dogs in children’s fenced off play areas.

The latest consultation asks residents if they are happy for the order to remain in place for a further three years, up to March 2024.

Irresponsible dog owners who fail to pick up faeces left by their pooch leave people vulnerable to diseases such as toxocariasis - an infection caused by roundworm parasites which can cause blindness. Dog faeces can also carry E. coli and hepatitis.

Allowing dogs onto children's play areas could leave youngsters at risk of exposure to faeces and the associated health hazards - either through direct contact or through contact with contaminated soil or sand.

Permitting dogs in play areas could also put children at risk of being bitten.

Council chiefs say there are more than 7,000 admissions to hospital for dog bites and attacks annually in the UK - with under 10s most likely to be admitted.

Bosses at the authority say they receive regular complaints in relation to dog fouling and last year issued 33 fixed penalty notices.

To issue a notice, an authorised officer must see the owner allowing their dog to foul and failing to clean up not afterwards for an offence to occur.

The current fixed penalty notice under the PSPO stands at £100 and under the proposed re-authorisation of the PSPO, the penalty will remain at this level.

Failure to pay can incur costs of up to £2,500.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, Dudley's cabinet member for environmental services, said: "Dog fouling of public spaces is absolutely unacceptable, especially when it puts the health of others, especially children at risk.

"The existing PSPO has already given us further enforcement powers to crack down on those irresponsible owners, who allow their dogs to foul our pavements, green spaces and play areas without cleaning up after them.

"The majority of dog owners act responsibly but there are those who spoil it for the rest and after all is said our four legged friends cannot clean up after themselves and that is part of our responsibility as dog owners.

"We want to make sure residents are still happy with this approach which is why we need them to take a minute to answer the four simple questions in our survey."

To take part go to dudley.gov.uk or click on the link above.

PSPOs are intended to address activities in public spaces which have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality.

The new PSPO would last for a maximum of three years and could then be renewed for a further three-year period.

To report incidents of dog fouling contact Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345 or via twitter @DCPlus.