NEW powers to force dog owners to keep their pets on a lead have been suggested for a North Oxford park.

Oxford City Council’s Elizabeth Wade is considering asking it to use new powers to tackle problems like fouling at Aristotle Lane recreation ground.

The St Margaret’s councillor suggested using a “public spaces protection order” (PSPO), which the council has been able to bring in since October 20.

The orders allow city council officers to propose, after consultation with the police, restrictions to prevent antisocial behaviour.

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Rules would be enforced by police officers, police community support officers and council officers and result in spot fines from £100 up to £1,000.

She said: “People come down to the park to exercise their dogs and don’t always clean up after themselves.

“We also have dogs rushing about where there are small children and parents are not comfortable with it.

“It is a particular problem at Aristotle Lane and so we are considering pressing for an order that would say where there is a small park, dogs would have to be kept on a lead. It would also mean owners would be much more likely to clear up after their pets.”

Mrs Wade, owner of Collie cross Alfie, 11, added: “It is something that is worth talking about.”

One mother, who did not want to be named, said the children’s park at Aristotle Lane was “full of dogs”.

She said: “They are largely tolerated, no one minds a docile Labrador or puppy, but myself and other mothers have noticed that there are now some really intimidating dogs allowed to run about there, off leads, including staffies and pit bull types that aren’t suitable to being around young children, let alone a playground.

“Many dog owners come down to the rec just to throw balls to their dogs, they aren’t coming with children.”

She added: “My young sons regularly play football there and often come back with dog mess on their shoes, which can be a serious hygiene issue for children. Dog owners in North Oxford have free rein in Port Meadow and University Parks, but our children have few decent-sized play areas.

“I really think that the area should be dog-free, and at the very least, a dogs on leads zone. I can’t think of any other children’s playground where dogs are allowed.”

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