Council to increase dog fouling patrols

Enforcement patrols are to be stepped up in Berwick due to a reported increase in dog fouling.

Friday, 14th December 2018, 07:40 am
Brought to you by the Berwick Advertiser team.

Northumberland County Council is taking action following residents’ complaints passed on by Coun Catherine Seymour, member for Berwick North.

She said: “This is good to hear as zero tolerance to dog fouling is a must for our environment and health.”

The council’s public health protection unit has said it will increase the number of enforcement patrols in the Berwick, Tweedmouth and Spittal areas.

In Northumberland, dog fouling enforcement is carried out by trained enforcement officers who can issue fines for a range of environmental offences.

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A public spaces dog control order that covers all publicly accessible land is already in place and in 2017 the council adopted the statutory maximum for fixed penalty fines of £100. If an officer observes a dog walker allowing their dog to foul without immediately removing the waste, then officers are trained to issue the £100 fine in all cases.

The council uses a risk-based, targeted approach to proactive enforcement patrols based on the number of complaints received from the public, together with evidence regarding land usage by dog walkers and environmental quality.

Officers say this approach is proving successful because in 2017/18, benchmarking showed that Northumberland served more fines for dog fouling (85) than any other North East council.

Enforcement is only one part of an overall approach used by the council to reduce dog fouling that utilises the three Es: Engagement, education and enforcement.

With regard to education, the council’s animal welfare officers visit schools and talk to children about responsible dog ownership.

As part of public engagement and raising awareness, in July 2017, the council launched the Green Dog Walkers initiative. Green Dog Walkers pledge to always clean up after their dog and dispose of the bag in a bin, and when walking their dog to wear the Green Dog Walker armband, offer free dog bags to encourage others, hand out leaflets and at all times adopt a non-confrontational and friendly approach to changing attitudes about dog fouling. There are 1,798 people signed up to the scheme.