Northern Ireland

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council plans dog exclusion zones

Dogs being walked
Image caption Ninety-six exclusion zones for dogs have been proposed

A Northern Ireland council is considering setting up a number of dog exclusion zones.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has launched a consultation process over the move.

The "zones" would mean anyone caught walking their dog in the areas listed could face a fine of up to £80.

Some of the 96 areas proposed include the Knockagh Monument on the outskirts of Carrickfergus, as well as parts of Carnfunnock Country Park in Larne.

Playing fields and community centres in Ballymena, Greenisland and Whitehead are also included.

The consultation, which is open to the public until 19 June, has caused controversy among some dog owners.

Philip Thompson, the director of environmental services at the council, said: "Dog control issues, particularly the whole issue of fouling, are something that our elected members and officers are continually getting complaints about.

"So these dog control orders are there to try and deal with that issue."

He said the council would engage with people worried about the zones.

"This is a four-week consultation and we will genuinely listen and genuinely take on board those concerns," he said.

"If there are areas that shouldn't be on those, then we can remove them, but that will come back to council for a final decision."