New powers proposed to tackle dog fouling

Councillors are being asked to put proposals to introduce new powers to tackle dog fouling to the public.

Malvern Hills District Council is proposing a 12 week consultation on plans to introduce a Public Space Protection Order for dog fouling. The order would give council officers the power to ask dog owners to prove they have the means to clean up after their pet, such as a scooper, bag or other suitable equipment.

If they are unable to demonstrate they are properly prepared then the owner will be issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of up to £100 and a £1,000 court fine if they fail to pay. Currently officers can only issue a FPN if they see the owner fail to pick up after their dog.

The council’s decision-making Executive Committee will be asked at a meeting on Tuesday, November 29 to approve the consultation, which if agreed, will then take place from December.

The council has decided to act as dog fouling is a major issue for residents across the district. Between October 2015 and this September, the council alone has received more than 100 reports of dog fouling.

However, since April 2013 there has been just one fixed penalty notice issued as although the council’s Street Scene team patrol regularly, the likelihood of catching an offender is low.

Guide dogs and people who are physically unable to comply with the requirements of the PSPO will be exempt from the new rule.

Once the consultation has finished, the results will be discussed at a future meeting and a final decision made on whether or not to introduce the order. If approved, the order would initially run for three years and then be reviewed.

The powers, introduced under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, are already being used successfully in some parts of the country but if approved, Malvern Hills District will be the first place in Worcestershire to introduce them.

Cllr Bronwen Behan, portfolio holder for the environment on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “This isn’t a trivial issue as dog mess is not only unsightly but can pose serious health risks. Residents have repeatedly raised this as an issue they want to see us do more to tackle and this is us responding to those concerns. If we do proceed to consultation then it’s really important people get involved and tell us if they support the proposal or if they object, what else they think we should be doing.”

Details on how to take part in the consultation will be released in December, subject to approval by councillors.