Dogs in Sefton
Sefton Council welcomes responsible dog owners to its parks, greenspaces and miles of protected coastline, however it is important that owners follow clear regulations and guidance if visiting these sites – or when going for a walk along roads and footpaths, or cemeteries and crematoria.
On this page you will find information, maps and links designed to clearly explain how to behave responsibly when out and about with your pet.
Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) - Dog Control 2021
The Dog Control Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) has been agreed by the Elected Members of Sefton Council following extensive public consultation. It was approved at a full Council meeting held on Thursday 22nd April 2021.
PSPOs are powers that are available to local authorities to deal with anti-social behaviour and to ensure that communities are great places for everybody to live.
The PSPO for Dog Control aims to help dog owners behave responsibly in areas that are enjoyed by many other user groups. It outlines requirements and restrictions to encourage responsible dog ownership and to ensure that shared spaces are usable and accessible for all of Sefton’s residents.
A PSPO is an official measure that is an enforceable part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. PSPOs can be used to protect the public from behaviour that is having or is likely to have a harmful effect on the quality of life of those in the locality and is persistent and unreasonable or is likely to be.
This Dog Control Order is in place for up to three years until July 2024.
The following requirements / restrictions summarised below are included within the Order:
- Failure to remove your dog’s fouling forthwith.
- Restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by one person to a maximum of 6 dogs on or off the lead.
- Prohibit dogs from entering enclosed playgrounds and fenced sports pitches, including multi use game sport facilities.
- Prohibit dogs from entering marked sports pitches during specified times.
- Dogs to be kept on a lead within defined picnic sites and family areas in parks.
- Dogs to be kept on a lead within all designated carriageways (A and B classified Road) and footways.
- Dogs to be kept on a lead within all cemeteries and crematoria.
- Dogs to be placed on a lead when directed by an authorised officer to prevent a nuisance or behaviour by the dog likely to cause annoyance or disturbance to members of the public.
- Dog leads must be no greater than 2 metres in length when used in the locations specified above.
A £75 fixed penalty notice (£50 if paid within 10 days) will be issued if you fail to comply with the requirement / restrictions within the Order.
A series of maps are available that outline the restrictions in these shared spaces.
|Ainsdale Village Park
|Bedford Park, Birkdale
|Botanic Gardens, Churchtown
|Bowersdale Park, Seaforth
|Copy Lane Park, Netherton
|Derby Park, Bootle
|Duke Street Park, Formby
|Hatton Hill Park, Litherland
|Hesketh Park, Southport
|Hightown Children's Park
|Killen Green Park, Netherton
|King's Gardens, Southport
|Marian Gardens, Netherton
|Moorside Park, Crosby
|North Park, Bootle
|Orrell Mount Park, Litherland
|South Park & King's Gardens, Bootle
|Victoria Park, Waterloo
PSPO Full Order and A & B roads
The full Order can be downloaded below along with a list of A and B roads covered by the Order.
|Public Spaces Protection Order - Dog Control 2021
|Carriageway List of A and B Roads
Previous PSPO 2017
It is not possible to formally appeal against a fixed penalty notice issued for PSPO dog control offences.
However, if you wish to make representations about the fixed penalty notice that has been issued by the Council's contractor (NSL Ltd) then in the first instance you should make contact via email to email@example.com or in writing to Parking Services, PO Box 225, Bootle, L20 3WD.
PSPO Frequently Asked Questions
A Public Spaces Protection Order, also known as a PSPO, is a power available under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
An order can be used to control certain activities in a specified area if two conditions are met:
- That the activities have had or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on those in the locality.
- That the effect is, or is likely to be, persistent and continuing in nature and is or is likely to be such as to make those activities unreasonable and that restrictions are justified.
If any conditions of a PSPO are breached a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £75 can be issued, reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days. Failure to pay may lead to prosecution and being liable to a larger fine of up to £1,000.
The PSPO is intended to provide the Council with enforcement powers to address irresponsible dog control and protect the public from anti-social behaviour likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life in Sefton.
The Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was agreed by the Elected Members of Sefton Council following extensive public consultation. It was approved at a full Council meeting held on Thursday 22nd April 2021.
A PSPO normally lasts for 3 years but can be extended, varied or discharged during this period. This Dog Control Order will be in place until July 2024.
Certain restrictions and requirements contained within the PSPO apply to all open areas in the Borough of Sefton including all A and B roads and footpaths.
Other restrictions and requirements are limited to defined areas and include; exclusion of dogs from enclosed playgrounds and fenced sports facilities; exclusion of dogs from marked football, rugby and cricket pitches during different times of the year; dogs to be kept on a lead in family / picnic areas and cemeteries.
A full list of locations can be found on this webpage. This includes maps for all the main park locations showing restrictions including family / picnic areas.
A sign is placed at each entrance to parks and recreational areas and on Green Sefton information boards outlining the requirements of the PSPO. Large maps are also installed at some locations.
Information stickers are placed on lampposts and street furniture along A and B Roads.
Dogs are excluded from:
- Any fenced sports pitch, multi-use game sports facility or bowling green
- Enclosed children’s playgrounds
- Marked sports pitches at certain times of the year
Dogs are required to be on a lead on A and B roads, in cemeteries and in defined family /picnic areas within parks.
There are certain exemptions within the PSPO for people who are:
- registered as a blind person in a register compiled under section of the National Assistance Act 1949; or
- is deaf, in respect of a dog trained by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People (registered charity number 293358) and upon which that person relies for assistance; (excluding Schedule 1); or
- has a disability which affects his/her mobility, manual dexterity, physical coordination, or ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday objects, in respect of a dog trained by a prescribed charity and upon which that person relies for assistance.
No, there are still many locations across the whole of the Borough where dogs can be exercised off lead.
Dogs are not permitted in enclosed children’s playgrounds even if they are on a lead, however there are exemptions for assistance dogs.
Provided your dog is on a lead no greater than 2 metres in length you can take your dog into a cemetery, burial ground, garden of remembrance, or any land which is used as a memorial including any walkways / access points, forecourts, verges or landscaped areas.
You must not take your dog onto a marked football or rugby pitch from 1 September to 31 May inclusive, and cricket pitches from 1 April to 30 September inclusive.
It means outdoors in parks, footpaths, highways, bridleways or any other area which someone else could reasonably be expected to access.
This excludes your front or back garden but includes outdoor communal areas in a flat complex for instance.
You will be asked by an authorised officer to put your dog on a lead of not greater than 2 metres in length to prevent nuisance or behaviour by the dog likely to cause annoyance or disturbance to the public, and the behaviour would have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of the public.
Authorised officers of the Council including the Council’s contractor NSL Group Ltd will enforce the PSPO. If an authorised officer witnesses someone breach the PSPO they will issue a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days.
It is a criminal offence to obstruct an authorised officer in their duty.
Yes. You must provide the information requested by the authorised officer as failure to do is an additional offence. If you do not provide your details when asked to do so the authorised officer may request assistance from Merseyside Police who have committed to assisting Sefton Council with upholding the terms of the PSPO.
You can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for £75 if you break the rules. If you don’t pay the penalty within 14 days you can be prosecuted. A Magistrate can give a fine of up to £1,000.
If you do not pay the FPN the Council will look to prosecute you in the Magistrates Court for breaching the PSPO where you could face an increased fine up to £1,000.
There is no appeal available when issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), however you can make an informal challenge where you can say why you believe you should not have been given one.
If the challenge is accepted the FPN will be withdrawn, but if it is rejected you will be asked for payment of the charge as there is no further avenue of challenge to the Council.
If your challenge has been rejected and you do not make payment, the matter will progress and a prosecution pursued.
This will be heard at the Magistrates Court where you will be able to plead not guilty and present your case to the Magistrates. If the Magistrate accepts your not guilty plea, they will direct that the Fixed Penalty be quashed.
In the first instance you should make contact via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to Parking Services, PO Box 225, Bootle, L20 3WD.
Money received from paid Fixed Penalty Notices contribute towards the cost of enforcement services across the whole Borough.
Yes. In addition to the restrictions enforceable under this PSPO, there are restrictions /guidelines covering our coastal areas and nature reserves under specific byelaws and the Countryside Code.
These include dog free zones at Ainsdale and Southport beaches in the summer and general guidance to reduce disturbance to wildlife and livestock throughout the year.
For further information, see on site signage or read information about dogs at the coast on our dogs webpage.
Keeping your dog close to you, under control and in sight at all times, is the best way to ensure you are giving space to wildlife and to other visitors.
Dogs on the coast
Much of the Sefton coast is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with a series of nature reserves and protected areas running from Crossens in the north to Waterloo in the south.
Dog owners are encouraged to exercise their pets here but you must clean up any fouling, do not leave dog poo bags in the landscape and ensure your dog is kept under control.
There are two beach dog exclusion zones in place from 1st May to 30th September:
- Southport beach is free of dogs starting from the Pier south towards Pleasureland (for 555m) and to the tide line.
- Ainsdale Beach is free of dogs 200m either side of the main beach entrance and to the tide line.
Both the dog exclusion zones are well signed during the summer season.
Rare species including Natterjack Toads and Great Crested Newts use the many pools in the dunes – dogs MUST be kept out of these areas of water so these protected species can survive.
Dogs should also be kept away from birds on the beach, especially large flocks of roosting waders, terns and gulls, all of which use this coastline as an essential stop off or breeding site along the East Atlantic Flyway. It is a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to allow your dog to disturb these birds.
Pets should also be controlled so they do not disturb ground-nesting birds in the dunes. Nesting species are also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Threatened species including Skylarks are vulnerable and can be found throughout the Sefton dune system.
Dogs should also be kept under close control and way from all livestock (sheep, cows etc.) on the coast.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 each local authority has an obligation to pick up stray dogs. To reclaim their dog, owners must pay a reclaim fee in full before the dog will be released. After seven days, the dog becomes the property of Animals Wardens Ltd who may gift the dog to any rehoming centre across the North West for them to assess its suitability to be rehomed.
Reporting a stray dog
Animal wardens are operating our stray dog service. If you wish to report a stray or lost dog at any time including evenings or at weekends and Bank Holidays, please contact Animal Wardens Ltd via phone 0151 374 2174 or email email@example.com
The Animal Wardens will only collect a stray dog if it has been secured.
Reclaiming a stray dog
To reclaim their dog, the keeper must contact Animal Wardens on 0151 374 2174 and pay a reclaim fee in full before the dog will be returned.
- If a dog is reclaimed within 48 hours of arriving at the kennels, the reclaim fee is £80.59 per dog.
- If a dog is reclaimed after 48 hours of arriving at the kennels, the reclaim fee is £124.85 per dog.
Dangerous or out of control dogs
If you are worried about a dangerous breed, a dog that is out of control, a dangerous or aggressive dog please contact your local police station on 0151 709 6010.
Collar & tag
It is a legal requirement that all dogs must wear a collar and tag (even if microchipped) when in a public place. The tag must be inscribed with the name and address of the owner.