Proposed new dog orders being suggested across Dorset continue to split councillors.

Issues have arisen over areas where dogs should be banned from beaches altogether and where there should be on a lead, or allowed to run free.

In Weymouth, ward councillor Ryan Hope asked at a committee yesterday to allow dogs to be without a lead on the Rodwell Trail.

The committee also saw discussion over whether certain areas should have dogs on a lead all the time, or whether they could be allowed off a lead early and late in the day when there were few people around.

Dorset Council’s aim is to try and have the same public protection orders in place for dog users across the area.

But even that has led to objection – with Lyme Regis town council calling for a year-round dog ban on its main beaches.

Some area, such as Weymouth, may see new areas proposed for dog use, with a final decision expected to be made in October. Currently the only area where dogs are allowed on the main beach throughout the year is at the Pavilion end, although it may be moved to between the Jubilee Clock and the Pier Bandstand.

More than 8,600 responses were received to the 15-week consultation, the majority local people and over 60 per cent of them dog owners.

Cllr Hope told the committee that the success of any changes would come down to clear signage to ensure there was no ambiguity about where orders were in place and where they were not particularly in areas where there might be different orders in place such as the Nothe Gardens.

He said that he supported allowing dogs not needing to be on a lead on the Rodwell Trail and asked for the requirement to be on leads in the area to be removed from the final orders.

But the committee was told that dog owners were more likely to pick up after their pets if they were on a lead and Weymouth Town Council had asked for dogs to remain on a lead when using the Trail to help reduce the amount of dog waste for its staff when grass cutting.

Cllr Roland Tarr said he also supported keeping dogs on a lead on the area as it helped keep pets under control where the path was widely used by cyclists.

Cllr Hope argued that the leads created a risk in themselves to cyclists and it was likely to be safer not to have dogs on a lead on the Trail.

“It’s a minority. We should not criminalise and penalise every dog owner because of the actions of a minority…the majority of dog owners are responsible and will pick up after their pets…but we do need good enforcement and investment in our dog services and signage,” he said.

Cllr Hope praised the work of local dog groups in Weymouth and their actions to encourage responsible pet ownership.

Later in the debate Cllr Hope said he worried about the effect of allowing dogs on the main beaches throughout the year because of the effect fouling might have on water quality and the Blue Flag awards – the quality award criteria stating that dogs have to be excluded from bathing areas between May 15 and September 30.

The full report is available at