‘More wardens needed’ after just two dog fouling penalties in six months

Dog owners have been urged to always pick up after their pet.

Dog owners have been urged to always pick up after their pet. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Just two dog fouling penalties have been handed out by North Somerset Council since new orders to tackle the issue were introduced last year, despite the authority’s assertion it would have ‘zero tolerance’ of owners not picking up after their pet.

Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) were introduced in November, as the council hoped to lead a crackdown on antisocial behaviour, littering and dog fouling.

A two-month grace period followed, before fixed penalties of £75 were added to the arsenal of a team of around 100 council and police officers.

But since the turn of the year, just two people have been rapped for failing to pick up dog faeces, with one facing court action while the other case is still in process.

The figures were obtained by the Times through a freedom of information request, which also highlighted 91 penalties have been handed out in total with £975 collected in fines so far.

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In March, Cllr Peter Bryant – the executive member leading the regime – said the authority has ‘adopted a zero tolerance approach to dog fouling’, but just two penalties given out in six months begs the question whether they serve as an effective deterrent.

Lucy Shipway, a Clevedon dog trainer who orchestrates ‘poo patrols’ around the town, believes community-led efforts to tackle dog fouling have been successful, but PSPOs are proving less effective.

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She said: “Increased knowledge of toxocariasis means there is more emphasis of the issue, but the only way to deter irresponsible owners is to have more CCTV, more dog wardens and more PCSOs.”

But Lucy feels there are some positive signs.

She said: “The community efforts are definitely making an impact.

“We have been running poo patrols for more than a year, focussing on 12 problem locations and every time we revisit the sites they have improved, but there is still an issue.

“PSPOs would be effective if there were more patrols.

“People think they can’t be seen so they don’t pick up after their dog, so if there were more people on the beat it would help, but of course funding for that is an issue.”

The Times approached the council to comment on the figures and the effectiveness of PSPOs, but did not receive a reply at the time of going to press yesterday afternoon (Tuesday).

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