A FINAL decision over controversial dog control orders in the Ribble Valley will be made next week.

In July, Ribble Valley Council launched a consultation into tighter controls on dogs in public.

The council wanted to glean residents views on a proposed public space protection order (PSPO).

The proposed order includes requiring dog owners to keep their dogs on leads and carry poop bags.

If the orders are approved, dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets will be punished for their actions.

Since July more than 2,000 people signed a petition called ‘Let Leia Run’ opposing potential plans to stop dogs exercising off the lead on council owned green spaces.

Penny Pitty, who set up the petition, spoke on behalf of the group at the council meeting.

She said: “Those who do not pick up their dog foul will still not pick it up even if these orders are passed.

“Perhaps a fine would be a more reasonable solution that the blanket ban.

"The key reason for our concerns is that dogs need the ability to exercise.

“This includes the freedom to run as a lack of exercise can lead to dog behavioural problems."

Cllr Ken Hind, who is leader of Ribble Valley Council, said: “We have listened to the public and it’s fair to say the consultation has been a huge success.

“I can say as far as the council is concerned the consultation will go to the health and housing committee next week and then at these dog orders.

“The considered view of those who signed the petition will be taken into account by the committee.”

Speaking in the debate, the leader of the opposition Cllr. Allan Knox said: “It worries me that there is sometimes a lack of institutional memory at the council.

“When the previous dog orders were introduced, there was great consternation then that the plans would ban dogs from the castle field.

“Mapping out areas where certain behaviours are permitted may also be helpful for instance identifying areas where dogs can be let off a lead without breaching the PSPO.

“If the council had followed this guidance and provided maps and designated areas for dogs being exercised off the lead we wouldn’t be in the position we are in now.”

The consultation will be discussed at the council’s health and housing committee meeting on October 19 at 6.30pm.