Residents To Have Their Say On Council Plans To Tackle Dog Fouling In Swindon
Swindon Borough Council will be launching a consultation on the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which would give the Council new powers to tackle dog fouling.
The consultation, which starts this Monday (19 June), will ask residents for their views on the PSPO which, if approved, would enable council officers and other partner agencies to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to people who let their dogs foul and then fail to clear up after their pets.
Currently the Council has to gather significant evidence to prosecute dog owners through the courts, which takes up lengthy and disproportionate officer time and expense.
The new PSPO would make the enforcement process simpler – giving staff from the Council and partner organisations such as Police Community Support Officers the power to issue on-the-spot fines to irresponsible dog owners. The Order also includes a ban on dogs being allowed in enclosed children’s play parks across the Borough, with the same penalty incurred if the Order is broken.
Dog fouling is a national issue with many unpleasant and dangerous effects, including potential health issues for small children. It has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million faecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhoea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans.
Additionally, dog faeces can cause Toxocariasis which can lead to blindness.
The fine would be £100 with a reduction for early payments. It is hoped that it will reduce incidents of dog fouling in the Borough, although people will be given a chance to pick up after their dogs before a fine is issued. People who refuse to pick up after their dog will be fined and their details recorded. Repeat offenders could face prosecution. FPNs are currently used by half of the councils in the country to tackle the issue of dog fouling.
A similar scheme was introduced at Lydiard Park last summer in an effort to reduce dog related complaints. So far, no complaints have been received since the order was introduced.
Councillor Cathy Martyn, Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said, “Dog fouling is an issue we hear about on the doorsteps all the time. It is unpleasant and has serious health risks for children. Whilst we don’t want to be fining people, we feel this is the only way to make the minority of irresponsible dog owners clean up after their pets. This is not about the Council making money and all dog owners caught will be given a chance to pick up the mess before a fine is issued. This is about taking pride in our town and making it a pleasant place where people don’t have to watch every step they take for fear of treading in someone else’s dog mess.
If agreed, the PSPO will come into effect shortly after the consultation ends around September. All Swindon residents are encouraged to respond to the consultation by 18 September 2017 by visiting www.swindon.gov.uk/dogfoulingconsultation