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1 - Tougher penalties proposed to combat dog fouling

 
Plans are in the pipeline to introduce more severe financial penalties for dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets in Dudley.

The proposed new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) will give Dudley Council officers the power to dish out fixed penalty notices of up to £100 for dog fouling. The maximum is currently £50.

The new order would also stop dogs being allowed in children’s play areas, with similar punishments for owners caught flouting the regulations.

An online survey has already launched with residents given the chance to have their say.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environmental services, said:

“We know from the amount of complaints we get that dog fouling remains an emotive issue for a lot of residents in the borough, many of them dog owners themselves.

“The local authority has a duty to ensure that our public spaces are cleaner, greener and safe for all to enjoy.

We hope that introducing tougher penalties for irresponsible dog owners caught not cleaning up after their pets will act as a deterrent.

“In the past three years, from April 2014 to April this year, Dudley Council received nearly 1,500 complaints about dog fouling.”

The PSPO, if introduced, will replace all existing dog control legislation in the borough. It lasts for a maximum period of three years, after which it can be renewed for another three years if required.

Enforcement of dog fouling is usually by means of a fixed penalty notice. Before one can be issued, an officer must see the owner allowing the dog to foul and not clear it away afterwards.

A breach of a PSPO is an offence punishable by a fixed penalty notice and/or prosecution in the magistrate’s court. This is in line with current dog fouling enforcement in the Dudley borough. However there will be exemptions, for example a blind person in charge of a dog that is being used for guidance.

The consultation will ask four questions – whether residents support officers insisting that dog owners pick up after animals on open land with public access, and whether they support fixed penalty notices of up to £100. It also asks people if they are in favour of insisting dogs are kept out of children’s play areas, and whether they support penalties of up to £100 for owners who fail to remove dogs from a play area when asked.

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