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Enforcement powers for irresponsible dog owners

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) means we can fine irresponsible dog owners.

Icon for pdf Public Space Protection Order video transcript (PDF, 116.0kb)

Current consultation

We are currently consulting on expanding the Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) for responsible dog owners. More information is available on our consultations page.

Background information

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 brought in PSPOs. From consultation, over 80 per cent of people supported the Order, positively agreeing it would:

  • help create safe and welcoming play areas
  • reduce the number of stray dogs
  • enable authorised staff to request dogs are put on leads when necessary
  • tackle dog fouling issues

What does the PSPO mean for dog owners?

It is an offence in County Durham if you:

  • allow a dog to foul without picking it up (already an offence and continues under the PSPO)
  • allow a dog to stray (ie allow a dog to wander/roam loose/exercise without a responsible owner)
  • fail to put a dog on a lead when asked to do so by an authorised person (council staff, neighbourhood wardens or Durham Constabulary police officer)
  • allow dogs in designated fenced off fixed play areas (ie dogs are not allowed in specified areas where slides, swings and/or climbing equipment is contained by a fence). Fenced off play sites affected by the PSPO will display a sign advising that dogs are not allowed in. 

Fenced off play areas where dogs are not allowed


Neighbourhood wardens, trained council staff and Durham Constabulary will have the power to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100 for breaching any aspect of the PSPO. The FPN is reduced to £60 if paid within ten working days.

If the FPN is not paid, you will be taken to Court and prosecuted. The maximum fine is £1,000.


The PSPO does not apply to a person who is registered as blind, or is disabled or who uses a trained assistance dog. 


As well as the dog control powers included in the PSPO, other dog control arrangements may apply in parks, such as Hardwick ParkWharton Park and Chester-le-Street Riverside Park.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please see our  Icon for pdf Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (PDF, 463.5kb)  for more details.

#FollowOurLead campaign

Our #FollowOurLead campaign involves our Civic Pride team and Neighbourhood wardens educating and engaging with dog owners to promote responsible dog ownership across the county. Download our  Icon for pdf #FollowOurLead educational postcard (PDF, 313.9kb)  and  Icon for pdf #FollowOurLead educational poster (PDF, 448.7kb)  for further details.

Report a dog issue

Dangerous dogs or emergency dog situations should be reported directly to the Police. Call 999.


Contact us
Customer Services
03000 26 0000