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Schoolchildren encourage dog owners to follow their lead

Published July 10, 2017 11.35am

Members of a school council are helping teach dog owners to be more responsible.

Group of children standing and an adult holding posters
Neighbourhood warden David Mills with children from Woodland Primary School

Youngsters from Woodland Primary School in Bishop Auckland joined forces with our neighbourhood wardens to place stickers on lampposts around their community advising of new dog control powers.

On 1 June, we introduced a countywide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for dog control.

The new order means it is an offence in County Durham for dog owners to:

  • allow their dog to foul without picking it up
  • allow a dog to stray
  • allow a dog into a fenced off play area covered by the order
  • fail to put their dog on a lead when asked to do so by an authorised officer

The order can be enforced with a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or prosecution if the FPN is not paid within the set timescale.


To educate and engage with dog owners, we are rolling out a countywide responsible dog ownership campaign called #FollowOurLead, which aims to encourage people to take notice of the new rules.

As part of the campaign, our civic pride team is hosting assemblies in schools to teach children how to be responsible dog owners.

Poster competitions will also give youngsters the opportunity to have their designs adapted into signs to be installed at fenced off play areas where dogs are not allowed.

Spreading the word

Ian Hoult, our neighbourhood protection manager, said: "The school wanted to spread the word that dog fouling and other dog control issues are not acceptable, so they got in touch with us to see what they could do to help.

"As part of our #FollowOurLead campaign, and to implement the PSPO, we are placing stickers on dog waste bins to advise owners to pick up after their pet and we thought this was the perfect opportunity to involve the children.

"All dog owners are urged to do the right thing, to follow our, and indeed the children's lead, by being responsible, picking up after their dog and putting waste in a bin.

"Also, to not allow a dog to stray, to put a dog on a lead when asked and to refrain from taking dogs into fenced off play areas so children are protected from the dog and any dog mess."

Q&A session

As well as lending a hand with the stickers, children also took part in a question and answer session with Will Clifton, neighbourhood warden team leader at the council, to find out more about the new dog control rules.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships added: "It's great to see young children care about their environment and help influence the positive behaviour of others. We hope they have enjoyed playing their part in this important campaign."

To find out more about the new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for dog control, visit Enforcement powers for irresponsible dog owners or call 03000 261 000.