NEW rules for dog owners in Darlington are set to be introduced next month.

A public space protection order, which was approved by councillors last month, will come into force on September 7.

Some controversial proposals – including limiting the number of dogs that can be walked at a time – were dropped by Darlington Borough Council following objections by members of the public.

The order replaces existing control orders and bye-laws and permits fines to be issued for failing to pick up dog faeces; not keeping a dog on a lead in certain areas; not putting dogs on a lead when directed by an officer for the council; allowing a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded; or allowing a dog to be off a lead in East, North and West cemeteries.

Councillor Jonathan Dulston, cabinet member for stronger communities, said: “We listened to the views of residents and, following discussions with various organisations, our original proposals were changed and the new PSPO will not include a restriction on the number of dogs one person can walk.

“Dogs will also be allowed in cemeteries, so long as they are kept on leads and people clean up after them.

“The new PSPO will make it clearer what the rules are in relation to dogs in the borough and we would urge those with dogs to be responsible – make sure you know where you need to keep your dog on a lead, where they are not allowed and clean up after your pet.

“Having a dog brings many rewards, but also responsibilities and our civic enforcement ffficers will be enforcing the rules while out on patrol. We are watching you and we will take action if you are caught breaching the rules.”

Where a PSPO is in force a police officer, police community support officer, a council civic enforcement officer or other council officer witnessing behaviour that breaches its conditions may challenge the individual concerned and ask them to comply.

If the individual does not comply with the request, an offence is committed.

Breaching the PSPO can be punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 or by a fixed penalty notice of up to £100.

The PSPO will come into force on 7 September and will run for a three-year period, at which time it will be renewed or cease.