Dog walkers fined for breaching beach exclusion zone

Sunderland City Council is reminding people of its dog walking restrictions after 17 people were fined for taking their pets onto two stretches of beach where dogs are banned during the summer months.

The dog walkers were each fined £75 after being given fixed penalty notices for allowing their dogs to roam on stretches of beach at Seaburn and Roker covered by the City Council's Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

Fixed signage warning dog walkers of the restrictions, is in place along both beach fronts and environmental enforcement officers have been patrolling Roker and Seaburn beaches for the last few weeks, advising the public about littering, dog fouling and dog walking restrictions.

The dog exclusion zones are normally in place from 1 May to 30 September but this year were brought in a month later to allow dog walkers more space to socially distance when the beaches were less busy.

And with more people now visiting the beaches following the easing of the lockdown restrictions, Deputy Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Michael Mordey, believes it is only right that anyone caught breaching the ban should face the consequences.

He said: "The dog exclusion zones are there for a very good reason. It's all about keeping areas of our beaches dog free, clean and safe for children to use over the summer months. We're lucky enough to have miles of award-winning beautiful beaches in Sunderland, so there really is space for everyone.

"All we're asking is that people take notice of the signage and keep their dogs off certain limited stretches of beach over the summer months. But people also need to be aware that if they do breach the rules, we have the power to fine them and will do so.

"Enforcing the restrictions is an important part of making sure that beach goers have the space to safely social distance, at the same time as being able to enjoy the benefits our beaches offer for wellbeing."

News of the fines comes two weeks after Sunderland City Council said it would be clamping down on littering and dog control issues by reintroducing enforcement measures on city beaches. Anyone allowing their dog to foul the beaches, or go onto parts of the beaches where dogs aren't allowed over the summer months, faces fines of up to £75, with a maximum fine of £1,000 if this is not paid and ends up with a conviction in the Magistrates Court

While those caught dropping litter face fines of £150, rising to £2,500 if the fixed penalty notice is not paid and the case ends up with conviction in the Magistrates Court. The council has said it will also fine anyone caught drinking alcohol on the beaches or at the seafront, who is in breach of its public spaces protection order.

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Sunderland's Friendship Agreement with Washington DC makes us the only city in Europe to enjoy such a relationship with the world's most powerful city. Washington Old Hall is home to the direct ancestors of the first president of the United States of America.


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