Extra rules over dog fouling welcomed

December 22 2018

Dog owners could be literally stopped in their tracks in future and asked to prove they are able to clean up after their dog as part of a new council crackdown.

South Gloucestershire Council is consulting on whether to adopt a public spaces protection order, or PSPO, which would also see fines of up to £1,000 for dog owners that let their pets foul on commons, woodland, farmland and heaths.  Currently enforcement measures don’t apply to these areas.  Council officers would carry out the role under new enforcement powers which are being considered in South Gloucestershire.

The PSPO would apply to all land in the area ‘open to the air’, which the public has access to, except for land owned by the Forestry Commission. Landowners will be able to exclude their land if they wish. 

Sodbury Mayor, James Ball told Yate and Sodbury Voice: “There seems to be a habit of people putting their dog waste into poo bags and then hanging the bags on trees, we think they fully intend to pick them up on the way back from their walk but must simply forget”

 “There have also been issues with dogs fouling on the football and rugby pitches on the Ridings in Chipping Sodbury. This is an area where owners let their dogs run free and they don't pick up their mess. This is not only very irresponsible, it is extremely dangerous as it is where adults and children play sport.”

“The Town Trust offer free poo bags on the Ridings and we must urge all dog owners who use these amenities to collect all of their dog waste before leaving. With South Glos Council looking to fine owners £1000 if they aren't carrying poo bags, this is definitely a good way forward”

A council spokesperson said: “Dog walkers will be expected to show they have bags or other means of clearing up, even if the dog hasn’t defecated at that time.” 

“If they cannot do this, and they are not exempt from the PSPO, they will have committed an offence.”

“Breach of the PSPO is an offence, which can result in fine of up to £1,000 if convicted.”

The council may issue a fine instead of pursuing prosecution. This would be set at the maximum, £100, or reduced to £75 for prompt payment. 

South Gloucestershire Council is also putting up glow in the dark posters to remind dog owners that on dark winter nights “we’re watching you”. This initiative is part of Keep Britain Tidy’s campaign. In areas where it’s already in place, there’s been a reduction in dog fouling of up to 77 per cent. 

The PSPO will not apply to people with assistance dogs where the disability affects the person’s ability to clean up after their dog. 

The council’s consultation runs until January 11.