HUNDREDS of Ribble Valley residents have called for the repeal of ‘ridiculous’ dog control orders.

Under the orders, which came into force on Friday, dogs are barred from areas including skate parks, tennis courts, sports pitches, children’s play areas and basketball court.

Other offences include: nFailing to immed-iately remove dog faeces.

n Failing to keep a dog on a lead in Clitheroe Cemetery.

n Failing to put a dog on a lead of not more than one metre in length when directed by an authorised officer.

n Taking more than four dogs onto any land in the borough which has public access and is outside.

The maximum penalty for each offence is £1,000 in a magistrates’ court. The council can also issue £80 fixed penalties.

An online petition, which has gained almost 400 backers, is calling on the council’s chief executive Marshal Scott and mayor Coun Michael Ranson to lift the orders.

Ribble Valley borough councillors voted for the orders in January. A public consultation was set up ahead of a final vote earlier this year.

Dog owner John Monks, from Longridge said: “I pay for the upkeep of the Recs and should be allowed free use of them for whatever reasonable, use I see fit.”

Fiona Birchall, from Clitheroe, said: “This is disgraceful. People should be able to exercise their animals where they like as long as they are not endangering others. This world has gone mad.”

Clitheroe resident Doreen Highland said: “I struggle with walking and find the playing fields easier to walk on.

“I always pick up after my dogs and leash them if other dogs or children are about.” In an e-mail to Rachel Howarth, who set up the petition, Mr Scott said: “The community committee agreed to introduce dog control orders very much as a last resort to ensure that, as far as possible, areas where children play and those used as sporting facilities are kept clear of dog mess. I accept this unfortunately penalises those dog owners who behave responsibly.”

Speaking yesterday, Mr Scott ‘understood the strength of feeling’ among dog owners and invited them to get in contact with the council.

He said: “In hindsight we should have publised the consultation where it would actually come into effect and we will learn from this.”