Concerns raised about Dog Fouling Fines

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019 7:21am

By Aran Dhillon - Local Democracy Reporter

Only eight fixed penalty notices for dog fouling have been handed out in Warrington over the past 10 years.

Anybody who is issued with a dog fouling-related penalty notice is subject to a £50 fine.

A council spokesman said: “Not clearing up after your dog is unacceptable and unpleasant, as well as being a criminal offence.

“Offenders will often avoid compliance and change their behaviours to avoid detection.

“To take formal action, officers need either first-hand evidence of a dog fouling incident, or a witness statement from someone who has seen the incident, or video footage that evidences the criminal offence, as well as enough information to find the irresponsible dog owner.

“Our officers can only issue a fixed penalty notice where there is sufficient evidence to prosecute.

“They also deal with a wide range of environmental crime issues ranging from littering and fly-tipping to abandoned vehicles.”

Despite the low number of notices being handed out, the authority has issued 24 warning letters in the past 12 months where information identifies the irresponsible dog owner but the witness isn’t prepared to provide a witness statement.

Furthermore, 95 letters have been sent to households where ‘broad allegations’ were made, while there has been one verbal warning and one interview under caution.

The spokesman added: “We accept that formal action can act as a deterrent where it is in the public interest.

“We would encourage people to provide as much information as possible to help tackle this issue.

“We are also looking at the role of public open space protection orders as an additional means of control.”

Fairfield and Howley has been one of the worst hit areas in the borough.

Ward councillor Jean Flaherty says ‘unpleasant behaviour by a few irresponsible dog owners’ continues to blight paths, parks and lives.

She added: “It is the first subject (conjoined with fly-tipping) complained about by residents at any public meeting.

“I would encourage residents to report any incidence of abandoned mess using the council system.

“Only by working together can we make any progress towards cleaner streets.”

Evidence can be reported at warrington.gov.uk/dogfouling

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