Or­der set to bag more thought­less dog own­ers

Ex­clu­sive

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Life On The Streets - By Gerry War­ren gwar­ren@thek­m­group.co.uk @Ger­ry_war­ren

Dog walk­ers not car­ry­ing at least two bags to pick up af­ter their pets face be­ing fined un­der tough new council rules, the Gazette can re­veal.

De­tails of a crack­down on the so­cial men­ace were an­nounced this week as it emerged the au­thor­ity has failed to fine a sin­gle of­fender in the past two years.

Star­tling fig­ures ob­tained by the Gazette re­veal the au­thor­ity has not tick­eted any­one since 2014/15, when just one dog owner was landed with a £70 penalty.

But the council says it hopes to “have found a so­lu­tion” in the shape of new public space pro­tec­tion or­ders, which come into force in early Oc­to­ber.

Their in­tro­duc­tion will see dog walk­ers fined for not car­ry­ing at least two bags to pick up their pet’s mess.

But lead­ing an­i­mal char­ity, The Dogs’ Trust says it is “deeply con­cerned” about the new rules which it claims are “a sledge­ham­mer to crack a nut.”

Council spokesman Leo Whit­lock said: “The dif­fi­culty has been the need to catch per­pe­tra­tors in the act but we hope we have found a so­lu­tion.

“The new or­ders still re­quire dog own­ers to clear up af­ter their pets and own­ers will be li­able to a fixed £80 penalty no­tice if they do not.

“How­ever, the new or­der will also re­quire dog own­ers to demon­strate they have the ap­pro­pri­ate means to clean up. If they do not, they will be li­able to a fixed penalty no­tice.

“As a rule of thumb, our en­force­ment of­fi­cers would ex­pect re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers to carry at least two bags that can be used to dis­pose of dog ex­cre­ment.

“In re­al­ity, re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers al­ready do this. Many clear up af­ter other peo­ple’s dogs too so that all own­ers are not tarred by the same brush.”

Mr Whit­lock as­sures that the new rules will be “po­liced sen­si­bly” by en­force­ment of­fi­cers, but adds prob­lem areas and of­fend­ers will be tar­geted.

But Dogs Trust Cam­paigns Of­fi­cer Lee Paris said: “We are deeply con­cerned about fin­ing dog own­ers who don’t carry at least two poo bags when walk­ing their dog.

“Ev­ery­one wants to en­joy public spa­ces free from dog ex­cre­ment how­ever this law is very much us­ing a sledge­ham­mer to crack a nut and is pun­ish­ing the masses for the ac­tions of a few.

En­cour­ag­ing dog own­ers to pick up af­ter their dog is some­thing Dogs Trust con­tin­ues to cam­paign for and we wel­come any ini­tia­tive in­tro­duced by a lo­cal au­thor­ity to dis­cour­age dog foul­ing. How­ever, we be­lieve ed­u­ca­tion and the en­cour­age­ment of re­spon­si­ble dog own­er­ship is much more ef­fec­tive that hand­ing out fines, specif­i­cally if dog own­ers are con­fused and un­ware of the PSPO.”

But Claire Tabony, of Whit­stable-based dog care cen­tre Kinder­garten K9, has wel- comed the new rules.

“I can see how dif­fi­cult it is to po­lice those who don’t pick up af­ter their dogs, be­cause you have to have the proof. But these new rules should be eas­ier to en­force, and will hope­fully go some way to mak­ing sure peo­ple have what they need to act re­spon­si­bly.

“It’s pretty easy just to put a few ex­tra in your pocket be­fore you go out. You wouldn’t go out with a young child with­out pack­ing a bag full of what you need, so why should it be dif­fer­ent with a dog?”

Dog foul­ing prob­lems can be re­ported at www.serco. can­ter­bury.gov.uk/bin­sre­cy­cling/serco/re­quest-to­clean-up-dog-poo

The council has failed to fine a sin­gle of­fender in the last two years

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