Council Targets Irresponsible Dog Owners

dog-ownersAt the Recreation and Amenities Committee Meeting on 9 September and in response to a request that dogs should be banned from Makins Recreation Ground as dog fouling there is a problem, Henley Town Council has turned to its Police Community Support Officers for help to enforce the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act.  Recognising that banning dogs and installing warning notices would be ineffectual, PCSOs have been called in to warn dog owners about their responsibilities to pick up their pet’s faeces.

“If a dog defecates (poops) at any time on land that is designated as public and the person who is in charge of the dog does not remove the faeces from the land, that person is breaking the law, said committee chairman Councillor Jeni Wood.

The actions of a few irresponsible dog-owners who do not clean up after their dogs are chipping away at the freedom of responsible dog-owners. In some towns, Dog Control Orders have been introduced requiring dogs to be kept on leads. However, they do very little to reduce the fouling problem because irresponsible dog-owners don’t care about obeying the law.  Instead, they continue to fail to clean up after their dogs because unless a person who can enforce the law catches them in the act, they get away with it”, she said.

With the exception of people who are registered blind, being unaware of the defecation (whether by reason of not being in the vicinity or otherwise) or not having a device for or other suitable means of removing the faeces is not a reasonable excuse for failing to remove it.

Dog owners who refuse to pick up their dog’s poop can be fined up to £1,000 and PCSOs will be patrolled Makins Recreation Ground on the lookout for irresponsible owners.

Town Clerk, Mike Kennedy said “If you witness someone letting their dog foul without cleaning it up afterwards in a public place, you should report this to Henley Town Council. Please provide the name and address of the person in charge of the dog (if you know this) along with a description of the dog, plus details of the date, time and place of the offence.

If fouling occurs at regular times, it may be possible for an officer to come out and witness the fouling and take action accordingly. However, if the fouling problem is a general one, e.g. you do not witness the fouling when it happens but there is an area of land (other than on Town Council land) or a footpath where fouling is occurring, then South Oxfordshire District Council has a duty to clean it up, “ he said.