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

A sign asks dog owners to pick up after their pets. Picture: Chris Bishop

A sign asks dog owners to pick up after their pets. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets could soon be facing tougher fines, as one of the region's councils looks to crack down on the issue.

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

In order to tackle this, council bosses are seeking greater enforcement powers, which would remove loopholes from the council's current policy.

As it stands, certain areas of the district are immune from dog fouling regulations, meaning walkers are not duty bound to collect their pet's mess if it is abandoned on certain types of land.

These lands include marsh, moor, heath and woodland, along with roads that have a speed limit of more than 40mph.

However, under the proposals - which go before the council's environment panel this week - these exemptions would be removed.

The council is looking to enforce a public spaces protection order, which would allow it to over-rule the exemptions and secure a great number of convictions.

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In a report to councillors, environmental protection manager Tony Garland said the exemptions had prevent action being taken by officers in the past.

He said: 'This does not prevent it posing a health risk to members of the public who are likely to come into contact with it.

'It has been felt for some time that the exemptions hinder the work in pursuing irresponsible dog owners.'

Mr Garland added: 'Under current legislation, villages with national speed limits are not subject to dog fouling legislation. Nevertheless residents are just as likely to come into contact with dog faeces. Complaints are often received from such areas but are unable to be followed up.'

The order would also make it possible for the council to double its fixed penalty notice to offenders, from £50 to £100.

Currently, if somebody is seen to have ignored their dog's business they can either accept a £50 penalty or contest the council in court.

If committee members agree to the proposals, the council will then need to consult with partners including the police, County Hall and town and parish councils.