PROTECTING Pembrokeshire play parks, and the children that use them, from the minority of dog owners who are irresponsible is the basis of a draft policy considered by scrutiny this week.

Discussions were prompted by a Notice of Motion last year from Cllr Aaron Carey calling for council owned or maintained children’s play areas to ban dogs.

The proposal was not adopted, but consideration to a policy around dog restricted zones would be given, including a focus on dog free play parks and responsible dog ownership.

At Tuesday’s (January 19) policy and pre-decision scrutiny committee cabinet member for the environment Cllr Cris Tomos said “having dog mess in play areas in play areas is a health issue so it needed looking in to.”

The council has 48 parks that it directly owns and manages across the county, some of which are fenced and others which part of “the general public amenity space” said Cllr Tomos, with fencing in various conditions.

Those that are unfenced or have inadequate fencing do not have a defined area which could be declared dog free, a report to the committee states.

The responsibility of dog owners was also highlighted by officers working on the draft policy, which included looking at the current legislation available.

Existing legislation, which can already be enforced by the council, ensures that dog owners must be responsible and “not cause others in the community to suffer a detriment,” added director of communities Dr Steven Jones.

Cllr Mike James said: “99 per cent are responsible, but it only takes one bad apple.”

Cllr Tom Tudor said he had a wide range of information on combating dog issues following a motion he put forward in 2017, focusing on the Haverfordwest area, which would be passed to officers.

Community solutions such as the pilot ‘dog warden’ scheme in St Dogmaels could also form part of future plans, along with targeted signage and greater enforcement, resources allowing, of existing legislation will be used.