No loop­holes for own­ers to es­cape new dog poo pow­ers

Coun­cil says it does not need to stop and search ahead of launch of new rules

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Save Her Daughter - By Lowri Chant lchant@thek­m­ @Lowrichant

Dog own­ers found not be car­ry­ing at least two poo bags will be of­fered no loop­holes or wrig­gle room when tough new rules are brought in this month, the coun­cil has warned.

Un­der con­tro­ver­sial pow­ers to crack down on dog foul­ing, en­force­ment of­fi­cers will be able to fine peo­ple not equipped with the means to clear up af­ter their pets.

De­tails of the strict leg­is­la­tion, called a Pub­lic Space Pro­tec­tion Or­der (PSPO), were re­vealed in Au­gust and met with mixed re­ac­tion, with many peo­ple claim­ing it would be im­pos­si­ble to en­force.

Can­ter­bury Coun­cil has even had to ad­mit to res­i­dents ask­ing ques­tions through Free­dom on In­for­ma­tion laws that its of­fi­cers have no pow­ers to search dog own­ers or ask them to turn out their pock­ets.

But the coun­cil’s message is a sim­ple one: “Show us you have two bags or you could face pros­e­cu­tion.”

Coun­cil spokesman Rob Dav- ies said: “When the PSPO comes into force in the next few weeks, an owner who is asked to show they have the ap­pro­pri­ate means to clear up and re­fuses to co­op­er­ate, would be warned they are com­mit­ting an of­fence un­der the PSPO.

“If they ig­nore our warn­ing, the op­tion to call the po­lice or pur­sue them through the courts would then be open to us.

“We don’t have the power to stop and search dog own­ers and have never claimed that we do.”

As well as the new dog foul­ing rules com­ing into ef­fect this month, the coun­cil has al­ready this week been given stronger pow­ers to clamp down on other is­sues, in­clud­ing beg­ging, van­dal­ism and pub­lic uri­na­tion and defecation.

A se­ries of PSPOS have come into force in Can­ter­bury, Whit­stable and Herne Bay en­abling en­force­ment of­fi­cers to pu­n­ish any­one who re­fuses to stop drink­ing, shout­ing, swear­ing, busk­ing in an an­ti­so­cial way or climb­ing on build­ings and mon­u­ments.

The re­quest to stop must come from an en­force­ment of­fi­cer, po­lice of­fi­cer or PCSO – and any­one who ig­nores it faces an on­the-spot penalty no­tice of £100 or a court fine.

The coun­cil’s com­mu­nity com­mit­tee chair­man, Cllr Neil Baker, said: “The PSPOS are de­signed to de­ter peo­ple from spoil­ing the qual­ity of life of those who live in, work in and visit the city and the coast.

“Res­i­dents con­stantly tell us they are frus­trated that a very small mi­nor­ity can ruin a dis­trict they rightly cher­ish.

“These may seem like small is­sues, but it is cru­cial to tackle them to en­sure res­i­dents can en­joy as good a qual­ity of life as pos­si­ble.

“The PSPOS make it eas­ier for our of­fi­cers to take ac­tion.”

En­force­ment teams will also be able to tackle per­sis­tent beg­gars who in­tim­i­date passers-by or cause a nui­sance, but Cllr Baker said they would work with home­less char­i­ties and act with com­pas­sion.

‘If peo­ple ig­nore our warn­ing, the op­tion to call the po­lice would be open to use’

Can­ter­bury Coun­cil com­mu­nity com­mit­tee chair­man Neil Baker de­fended a se­ries of Pub­lic Space Pro­tec­tion Or­ders in­tro­duced by the author­ity, which in­clude con­tro­ver­sial pow­ers to crack down on dog foul­ing first re­ported on by the Gazette in Au­gust

Pic­ture: Neil Baker

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