Banbridge District Council are launching a major initiative to tackle the age-old problem of dog fouling.
Council workers receive many complaints every year about dog fouling which, they say, leads to considerable time and money being spent to make public areas safe for residents and visitors to use.
The ‘Stamp It’ campaign will see areas where dog fouling is most evident receiving ‘stamps’ across the pavements and walkways to indicate that the area will be subject to increased surveillance and Dog Warden Patrols. Council policy is to issue a £50 fixed penalty notice to anyone seen failing to clean up after a dog in their charge. If the person fails to pay or re-offends, they can be taken to court, where the maximum fine is £500.
In the first six months of this year, 82 dog owners were warned about their dog’s behaviour or for having no licence, with action taken to ensure that a licence was obtained. Fixed penalties to the value of £2,250 have been issued to dog owners for offences such as straying and not cleaning up after their dog.
Offences of a more serious nature have resulted in cautions being issued to owners where a dog has attacked another animal or a person.
Three cases have been brought before the Courts resulting in convictions and fines in the region of £200 per case, where fixed penalties or cautions have not been accepted by the dog owner.
In one very serious dog attack on a person resulting in their hospitalisation, the Court banned the dog owner from keeping dogs for two years.
“The Council are aware that it is the minority of dog owners who do not clean up after their pet, however, the mess that is created tarnishes the good name of responsible owners plus the look of our streets and parks,” explained Allan Priestly, Environmental Warden for Banbridge District Council.
“We want to highlight the problem through the Stamp It campaign and urge all residents to report repeat offenders directly to the Council.
In recent months the Council wardens have increased their visibility and patrols through the employment of signage on vans and using a bicycle in parks and open spaces, to help deter offenders and maintain a visible presence throughout the District.
Gillian Topping, Head of Environmental Health, added, “Whilst the Council would prefer to educate rather than prosecute irresponsible dog owners, taking firm action resulting in fixed penalties and if necessary court action is sometimes the only option for those who do not take their dog ownership responsibilities seriously.”