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Strong support for dog fouling crackdown

Proposals to give council officers more powers to deal with people who fail to control or clean up after their dogs, have met with strong support from the public.

 

Malvern Hills District Council has recently completed a six week consultation on plans to introduce a Public Space Protection Order for dog control, which would introduce three new offences.

 

They are failing to carry a poop bag or other means to clean up after a dog, failure to keep a dog on a lead in a designated area and failure to keep a dog out of fenced off or enclosed children’s playgrounds.

 

Anyone committing one of the new offences would be given a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of up to £100 and a £1,000 court fine if they fail to pay.

 

More than 550 people took part in the consultation the majority of which, some 63 per cent, were dog owners.

 

Of those who responded, 82 per cent backed making it illegal to not carry a poop bag or another means to clean up after a pet. There was also overwhelming support for making it an offence to keep a dog on a lead in certain places (82 per cent) and failing to stop dogs entering a fenced or enclosed children’s playground (88 per cent).

 

Most people felt it would be most appropriate for it to be a requirement for dogs to be kept on leads in parks, playgrounds, around schools and on pavements near roads.

 

A total of 50 per cent of people felt if people could not prove they were prepared to pick up after their dog then they should be given a fixed penalty notice, while 34 per cent felt they should be sent on an awareness course.

 

Some residents wanted to see the introduction of an offence for leaving bags full of dog poo on the branches of trees or pavements.

A report has now been prepared for councillors to consider at an Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, 25 April 2017. The council has the option to introduce the new offences under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The powers 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.

If approved, the order would initially run for three years and then be reviewed. Guide dogs and people who are physically unable to comply with the requirements of the PSPO will be exempt from the new rule.

Cllr Bronwen Behan, portfolio holder for the environment on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “We know dog fouling is an issue of concern to our residents, including amongst dog owners, and the responses to the consultation show there is very clear support for the proposal.

“We will always aim to educate people first and encourage them to change their behaviour before issuing fixed penalty notices, but introducing these new powers would support our officers in tackling this issue, whilst sending a clear signal to irresponsible dog owners that it’s time they cleaned up their act.”