Dog lovers across the Derbyshire Dales are being urged to get behind a “responsible owner” selfie campaign.
The aim is to remind people about public space protection orders that came into force two years ago.
Exclusion orders and a dogs-on-leads policy were adopted in certain areas – and around 10 council workers have powers to issue a £100 fixed penalty notice to dog owners who flout the law or fail to remove dog mess left by their animals in public places. A maximum £1,000 fine can be imposed if the matter goes to court.
To hammer home the message that the vast majority of dog owners act responsibly, the District Council is asking local people to post selfies of themselves and their dogs (or just their dogs if they prefer) on the council’s Facebook page and on their Twitter and Instagram channels using the #dddogs hashtag.
The winner, picked at random when the competition ends on 30 April will receive a goody bag for their four-legged friend.
A District Council spokesperson said:
"The orders introduced in 2015 balance the needs of responsible dog owners with the interests of those affected by dogs, particularly children.
"Educating local people and visitors who regularly use our parks and open spaces is a big part of measures that encourage dog owners to act responsibly.
“We carry out regular patrols in our larger parks in Ashbourne, Bakewell and Matlock, as well as in cemeteries and council-owned gardens and open spaces. And we are always happy to respond to residents’ requests for patrols in specific areas where there is a problem that needs tackling.”
Dog fouling complaints lodged with the District Council have doubled in recent years and the council spends £830,000 on street cleaning every year - including the cost of emptying hundreds of dog waste bins.
Dogs are now banned from enclosed children's play areas and must be kept on leads in cemeteries, churchyards and ornamental gardens, but can continue to be allowed to exercise off the lead on open sports pitches, though some popular locations are restricted to a dogs-on-leads policy at certain times.
Dogs are excluded from wet and dry play areas in Matlock's Hall Leys Park and the Recreation Grounds in Ashbourne and Bakewell – and have to be kept on leads in the rest of the grounds between 11am and 4pm.
Educational campaigns have already been carried out with ‘Responsible Dog Days’ at Bakewell Recreation Ground, Matlock Hall Leys Park and Ashbourne Recreation Ground.
The full list of sites affected by dog orders can be viewed here - where local people can also report dog fouling issues.