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
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