The Home Office has published a draft Anti-Social Behaviour Bill on 13th December 2012. Those who are interested are able to make submissions to the Home Affairs Committee by 9th January 2013 Click Button

The main proposals in relations to dogs are:-

Public Spaces Protection Orders

Dog Control Orders are to be repealed and replaced with Public Spaces Protection Orders. PSPO's may be made by a local authority if there are "activities" that are taking place in a public place which are having "a detrimental effect" on quality of life. It may apply to:-

  • all persons, or
  • only to persons in specified categories, or
  • to all persons except those in specified categories

There must be consultation with the chief officer of police, the local policing body and "whatever community representatives the local authority thinks it appropriate to consult". The notes say there will be "lighter touch consultation requirements to save costs".

Failure to comply with a PSPO is a criminal offence which can be dealt with by a Fixed Penalty Notice (of up to £100) or by prosecution (maximum fine of £1,000).

Trevor Cooper's commentary

The current DCO's are well understood and generally are working well when Councils have the resources to effectively enforce them. I am therefore disappointed to see it is intended to replace them.

The main differences compared with existing DCO's are:-

  • There is no limit as to what can be required in a PSPO (compared with DCO's which are limited to the 5 types – fouling; lead; lead by direction; exclusion; limit on numbers). In many cases the PSPO is likely to mirror the current provisions, but there is no reason why this needs to be.
  • It would seem that the consultation process is likely to be less inclusive (by not requiring advertising in a local newspaper)
  • It is not clear what will happen to existing DCO's – will they remain in force?
  • They can only last for up to 3 years (compared with DCO's which have no time limit)
  • The maximum FPN of up to £100 is up for England (currently £80 max) but down for Wales (currently £150 max)
  • Unlike DCO's, parish councils will have no power to make PSPO's

Community Protection Notice

The Police and local authorities are to be given new powers to issue a Community Protection Notice if there is conduct "of a persistent or continuing nature" which is having a 'detrimental effect' on quality of life. The CPN can specify requirements:-

  • to stop doing specified things
  • to do specified things
  • to take reasonable steps to achieve specified results

There is provision to appeal against a CPN to a Magistrates' Court. Failure to comply with a CPN is a criminal offence punishable with a fine for an individual of up to £2,500.

In the Home Office's 'Putting Victims First' White Paper in May 2012, it is suggested that a CPN could also be used for

  • "an individual who regularly allows their dog to foul in a communal garden"
  • "requiring an owner to repair inadequate fencing if their dog regularly escapes and attacks other dogs"

Trevor Cooper's commentary

I don't see this being used in a dog barking case because if it is 'persistent or continuing', then I would expect this to be dealt with as a statutory nuisance under the EPA.

It is unclear to me that if a dog is being a nuisance to other dogs/other animals, would this pass the test for a CPN (ie. could it be said to have a detrimental effect on quality of life)?

No-one wants irresponsible dog owners allowing their dogs to be a nuisance or annoyance to people or animals, so a provision creating a Dog Control Notice (as enacted in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and as proposed in Wales) to require leashing / muzzling / attendance at training classes could have been ideal. Why would a CPN be better at promoting responsible dog ownership than a DCN would be?

If this is passed, what would happen to the proposed DCN's in Wales?


ASBO's are to be replaced by injunctions.

These are to be obtained in a County Court (or the Youth Court if under 18) and can be obtained by various bodies including the local authority, the Police and a housing provider. The grounds are that the respondent has caused a "nuisance or annoyance to any person" and the injunction may prohibit the respondent from doing things (or a requirement to do things). Breach is a contempt of Court, punishable with up to two years imprisonment or an unlimited fine.

In the White Paper it was suggested that in a dog related case these Crime Prevention Injunctions could be used "in the most serious cases" which could:-

  • prevent them taking their dog to certain locations at certain times
  • require them to muzzle their dog in public
  • attend dog training classes

Trevor Cooper's commentary

It is difficult to envisage a situation where this would actually be used in a dog case.

  • If the dog has injured someone / made them fear injury, in most situations DDA could be used (or possibly Dogs Act 1871 or Acceptable Behaviour Contracts).
  • How does this power fit in with CPN's? Surely if there's a nuisance dog where DDA doesn't apply, then wouldn't a CPN be more appropriate? Couldn't requirements for exclusion, muzzling and/or attending at training be imposed by a CPN?