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Don't get caught out by new dog mess fines!

Dog owners without a bag to clean up after their pet could face a £100 on-the-spot fine next time they’re out for a walk. New laws to combat the small minority of owners who neglect cleaning up after their pooch have been introduced in an attempt to tackle the long-standing problem which poses a serious health risk, particularly to young children.

Under the new rules, dog wardens and council enforcement officials will be able to issue fines to offenders. Failure to pay the £100 within seven days is likely to lead to prosecution in a magistrates’ court and a fine of up to £1,000.

Previous laws allowed for people to be fined for allowing their dog to foul in public spaces or leave bags of waste on park benches, but the new offence stretches to cover owners guilty of failing to have the means to pick up after their dog.

Daventry District Council in Northamptonshire will be the first area in the country to put the new rules into force with many councils nationwide expected to follow suit.

Environmental health manager Paul Knight said: “We have a number of hotspot areas. They tend to be quieter places where people are not seen or where they walk their dogs at night.

“We are anxious to tackle the problem on footpaths near schools, and if we get public support, our enforcement officers will have the confidence to take action against the culprits.”

Glow-in-the-dark posters featuring a ‘We’re Watching You’ slogan are being put up in dog fouling hotspots around Daventry. The move comes in response to research by Keep Britain Tidy that suggests the majority of dog fouling occurs at night.

Dog fouling dropped by an average of 46 per cent in the 20 areas of the country that took part in a pilot campaign last year.

It looks as though getting into the habit of taking a few spare bags is the safest bet for all dog owners.

18 August 2015

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