ANGRY dog-owners in Wadebridge have swamped the town council with objections to it introducing tough new by-laws banning their pets from recreation areas.
Three petitions and other letters criticising the move have been sent to the council. It has received six letters supporting the ban.
If town councillors decide in favour of the by-law, their staff will be given the powers to issue fixed penalty fines to owners.
The town council is seeking to prohibit dogs from entering children's play areas, the tennis courts and bowling green and cemetery.
And if an owner is caught with their dog off its lead in Egloshayle or Jubilee playing fields, they could also face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.
Wadebridge councillors say they have been forced to consider applying to Cornwall Council to issue their own fines because of the amount of dog mess in recreation areas and other problems that have occurred with dogs off their leads.
Failing to clean up after a dog or not complying with the new dog control order could result in a fine of £80 (reduced to £50 if paid within ten days), or prosecution.
Dogs will still be allowed to be exercised off the lead in Coronation Park, but owners will have to pick up their pets' mess.
Local resident Sarah Griggs, who started one of the petitions, said lots of people had signed it, and if the ban was introduced, responsible owners would suffer because of the antisocial behaviour of a minority.
"Only very few people refuse to pick up their dog's mess and I've had words with one or two myself.
"Like most people, I always pick up after my dog and so do the vast majority, you can see that because the dog bins are always full."
Mrs Griggs said banning dogs from exercising in Egloshayle playing fields would cause particular problems for elderly owners.
"They will find it very difficult to go to Coronation Park, and there has to be some sort of compromise reached with the town council over this,'' she said.
Mayor Tony Rush agreed it was an emotive issue in Wadebridge, but stressed his council was not "anti-dog."
He said: "I own a dog and so do a number of councillors. There have been signs up for 30 years telling people to keep their pets on a lead, and to pick up after them, but some are not doing it and it's not compatible for dogs to be running around where children play.''
Mr Rush said councillors would take into account residents' views before making a decision on the by laws.
A report on the ban will be discussed at a meeting on Wednesday at 7pm, which the public can attend.