NEW controls on dogs in children’s play areas, cemeteries, church grounds and sports fields across Blackburn with Darwen are to go ahead despite a backlash from owners.

When the crackdown to tackle fouling and uncontrolled animals was proposed in September, council leader Kate Hollern said she was in favour of a total ban on dogs off leads in the borough’s seven main parks.

The move angered dog walkers who said they should have the right to exercise well behaved pets by allowing them to run free.

More than 50 residents expressed concern about it, but most were alarmed by Coun Hollern’s desire for a total ban on dogs running free. Borough environment boss Jim Smith said the measures were needed after numerous complaints about dangerous animals and people failing to clean up after their pets.

They are due to be rubber-stamped by the council’s executive on Thursday.

The proposals will ban all dogs, except guide dogs, from all 45 enclosed play areas.

It will become a criminal offence not to keep a dog on a lead in 10 cemeteries, church precincts and burial grounds, including the Cathedral Close. On eight more playing fields officials will be able to order owners to put their dogs on a lead on pain of a £75 fine.

During the consultation, five letters and 49 emails of objection were received.

Coun Smith added: “Coun Hollern is totally happy with the proposals, as are all responsible dog owners.

“If these measures failed to tackle the problem, we will consider further steps.

“They will not include a total ban on dogs off leads in parks.”