Antisocial dog behaviour – including attacks on people and animals – could result in tough new measures for pet owners.

Dog owners and walkers will be forced to keep their animals on leads in public spaces if proposals by Merton Council go ahead.

The move follows mounting concerns from police, community groups and residents about the rising number of dog related problems in public spaces.

Merton Council began its public consultation on introducing new Dog Control Orders (DCOs) on Monday, September 17, and finishes on November 2.

The DCOs would mean dogs must be kept on leads in public car parks; small areas of public land; open spaces of less than half a hectare and council owned or maintained recreation grounds, cemeteries, church yards, allotments and sports grounds.

Dogs would have to be put on a lead when told to by an authorised officer in all the borough’s public open spaces larger than half a hectare – which excludes Wimbledon Common which has its own bylaws.

And, because of concerns over dog walkers’ ability to control and clean up after their animals, the plans mean only a maximum of four dogs will be allowed be walked at a time in public spaces larger than half a hectare – again excluding Wimbledon Common.

Councillor Andrew Judge said: “While we realise most dog walkers are responsible, we do need to consider taking tougher action against those who are not.”

Merton already has two DCOs, including one that makes it an offence for a dog walker not to clean up dog mess and a second for designated dog-free areas, such as children’s play areas.

To take part in the consultation visit controlorders.