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Council doubles fines for dog owners that leave pet's poo in all public places including woods and marshes

PUBLISHED: 13:45 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:39 06 March 2019

Dog owners in Broadland are being warned about tougher enforcement measures which came in on March 1. Picture: Chris Bishop

Dog owners in Broadland are being warned about tougher enforcement measures which came in on March 1. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A walk in the woods should be less of a messy minefield thanks to a new order and a doubling in fines aimed at ridding the countryside of dog mess.

A new order means dog owners can be fined for not picking up their pet's poo in all public areas. Previously some areas were exempt 

Picture: James BassA new order means dog owners can be fined for not picking up their pet's poo in all public areas. Previously some areas were exempt Picture: James Bass

Until this month those who failed to clear up after their animals could avoid getting a penalty in certain areas of scenic Broadland because of exemptions on what type of land was included.

Now under a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) all land the public has access to is included for the first time, embracing nature-haven woods and waterside beauty spots.

Posters are going out to parish councils and some homeowners across the district council area telling them about the new law, which now applies to marshland, moorland, woodland, common land, and areas near to rivers and broads.

The fixed penalty fine has increased from £50 to £100, and the maximum penalty is £1,000.

Broadland District Council has brought in new powers to combat dog fouling Picture: Broadland District CouncilBroadland District Council has brought in new powers to combat dog fouling Picture: Broadland District Council

MORE: Council looks to crackdown on dog fouling after issuing just two fines from 368 complaints

A spokesman for Broadland District Council, said the two-pronged approach aimed at telling dog owners there were no longer any safe areas where they could legally allow their dogs to foul, and also at encouraging the public to report those who abandoned their dog’s business.

The spokesman said it was a complained about issue with often just a handful of dog owners spoiling it for everyone else.

She said: “In terms of anyone wanting to report it we would encourage them to report it directly to us rather than approach the person themselves.

“When we receive a report we investigate and take a witness statement.

“We then invite the dog owner in for an interview under caution and decide if there is enough information to issue a fixed penalty.

“We really do rely on people reporting to us.

“We know how frustrating it is to see a few individuals spoiling public spaces and this is to do more to combat the issue.

“It is more of an issue over the winter and we recommend dog walkers take a torch so they can see what they need to pick up.”

People can submit their evidence anonymously.

In the past five years, Broadland District Council received 368 complaints about dog fouling - but only two of these resulted in fines being issued.

It is hoped the PSPO by removing loopholes and increasing the fines will see more convictions while acting as an effective deterrent.

To report an offence call 01603 430488.

‘Policy to prosecute’

In Great Yarmouth the council takes a different approach with environmental rangers keeping a look out and gathering evidence for prosecution.

In the past three years the council has taken 21 dog-fouling cases for prosecution, all of which were successful.

Carl Smith, chairman of the environment committee, said: “Great Yarmouth has one of Norfolk’s best records for enforcement on a range of environmental crimes, including dog-fouling.

“The council’s environmental rangers continue to appeal to residents to report any dog owners seen breaking the law, so they can actively investigate and prosecute.

“National legislation allows councils across the country to choose whether to prosecute offenders through the courts or to issue an FPN, where they have sufficient evidence.

“Great Yarmouth’s approach of prosecuting is supported by the community and by the vast majority of local dog-walkers who always pick up their dog’s mess, bag it and bin it.

“Dog mess not only looks unsightly and is unpleasant for residents and visitors alike, but also carries the risk of blindness through toxocariasis. “Anyone caught dog-fouling in the borough can incur a fine of up to £1,000 in the courts.

“It has been Great Yarmouth’s policy to prosecute for dog-fouling for about a decade.

“In 2017, a public spaces protection order went live to update various dog control measures relating to publicly-accessible land across the borough.

“This order brought the offence of dog-fouling under the new legislation and extend it to cover any land across the borough to which the public have access.”

Anyone who witnesses an environmental crime in the borough or has information that may help to identify an offender should contact the environmental rangers and provide as much information as possible, such as the location and time of the offence, description of the offender(s) and dog, and the registration number of any vehicle involved.

The quickest way to report is to download the Report IT GY App, or you via 01493 846478.

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