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Officials reveal preferred location for dog park

LOCAL council officials have revealed their preferred location for the new ‘free play’ dog park that has been proposed for Omagh.

In a report prepared for this month’s meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s environmental services committee, members were informed that the preferred option was at Arleston/ McCauley Park, which is close to Omagh Leisure Complex on Old Mountfield Road.

Proposals for the creation of new ‘free play’ dog parks in both Omagh and Enniskillen, where pet owners could allow their animals to roam without leads, have been revealed as the council prepares to launch a public consultation on tougher dog control measures for the district.

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Under these plans, which have sparked a fierce debate among local animal lovers, dogs will be excluded from certain areas owned by the local authority, namely play parks, playing pitches, multi-use games areas (MUGAs), artificial pitches, bowling greens and tennis courts.

The local authority is also planning on bringing in new controls requiring dogs to be kept on leads in other areas, namely cemeteries, burial grounds and land surrounding council buildings.

Meanwhile, the proposed new Dog Control Orders would also allow authorised council officers to require a dog to be put on a lead if it is felt that such a restraint is ‘reasonably necessary’ to prevent a nuisance.

FODC has stated that these planned measures are being brought in to encourage responsible dog ownership and to keep the proposed ‘exclusion zones’ free of dog mess, which is potentially hazardous to children’s health.

According to the latest report, it is anticipated that the upcoming public consultation will help to identify the level of demand for a ‘free play’ dog park in both Omagh and Enniskillen.

Council officers have proposed that the parks would be fully enclosed, with separate areas for large and small dogs.

Arleston/McCauley Park, which has an entrance on Old Mountfield Road, has been chosen as the ‘preferred option’ in Omagh due to its “ideal location”.

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The report states, “It is a very large park with tarred pathways that can easily accommodate a large and small dog exercise park. Parking is just a short distance away at Omagh Leisure Complex.”

Other locations under consideration in the Omagh area are at Centenary Park/ Gortmore on Derry Road and also St Julian’s Road Park.

The public consultation process is due to get underway on Monday, September 16 and will end on Friday, October 18.

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