More than 3,000 reports of dog fouling in three years
PUBLISHED: 18:33 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:28 18 June 2019
There have been more than 3,000 reports of dog fouling in Norfolk over the past three years - but only 22 people have been taken to court.
Despite countless warnings about crackdowns on errant dog owners, a Freedom of Information request has found that the vast majority are getting away with failing to clean up.
Figures show that from 2016 to 2018, 3,389 incidents of dog fouling were reported to councils across Norfolk.
But only nine fixed penalty notices have been issued and only one local authority has prosecuted anyone for the offence. Norwich City Council received the most reports - 1,463 - followed by Breckland Council which received 553 over the past three years. While the city council issued three fixed penalty notices, one per year, neither council brought a prosecution.
The number of reports received by Norfolk's seven authorities varies year on year, with some local authorities seeing a decline in the number of reports, such as in Norwich, and others, such as South Norfolk, seeing an increase.
The only district council to prosecute anyone was Great Yarmouth, which prosecuted eight people in 2016, nine in 2017 and five people in 2018.
Anyone caught dog fouling in the town can face a court fine of up to £1,000. The local authority has had a policy of prosecuting over dog fouling fro more than a decade.
Carl Smith, chairman of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's environment committee said the key to the district council's prosection rate was its environmental rangers.
He said: "Great Yarmouth has one of Norfolk's best records for enforcement on a range of environmental crimes, including dog fouling, employing two full-time environmental rangers who respond to public tip-offs, investigate crimes, gather evidence and bring prosecutions.
"The environmental rangers continue to appeal to residents to report any dog owners seen breaking the law, so they can actively investigate and prosecute.
"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."
Shelagh Gurney, Broadland District councillor for Hellesdon, which in November voted to double its fixed penalty notice for dog fouling from £50-£100, said: "Dog fouling is not nice. I would encourage people to use disposable bags or take it home, I would also encourage people to be more careful and more considerate."
Norwich City Council was contacted for comment regarding why no prosecutions were made in the last three years.