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Friday, 3 November 2017

Council beefs up powers to tackle dog fouling and anti-social owners


Cheshire East Council is beefing up its powers to crack down on dog fouling and dog control.

It follows overwhelming public support for tougher controls put forward by the council during its recent borough-wide consultation.

The four-week public consultation, which ended on October 10, was held to seek residents’ views around the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) specifically to tackle dog fouling and dog control across Cheshire East.

The authority received more than 1,400 responses and more than 90 per cent of respondents backed the creation of a PSPO to cover all public places and fines for owners who fail to clean up after their dog. 

The creation of a PSPO will help the council identify and enforce against anti-social dog owners and promote the safe and enjoyable use of all our open public spaces – including land previously not covered by enforceable dog control byelaws.

The PSPO came into effect from today, November 1, and will enable the council to more-effectively combat dog fouling and introduce certain dog control requirements. The council recognises that most dog owners are responsible and would like to thank them for their continued support in helping to keep public areas clean.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance and communication, said: “This consultation got a tremendous response from the public and, as we are a listening authority, we have responded to what they told us.

“It became apparent, from very early on in the process, that our proposals really struck a chord – and residents overwhelmingly supported plans to beef up enforcement and promote responsible dog ownership.

“It is clear from the responses that this is an important issue for residents and the council wanted to give the whole community the opportunity to have their say in shaping policies that help make Cheshire East such an attractive place to live, work, build a business and visit.”

The main features of the PSPO allow the council to:

● Tackle those that fail to pick up after their dog in all public places within Cheshire East

borough;

● Allow authorised officers to tell a dog owner/walker to put and keep their dog on a lead if

necessary, for example, if their dog was showing aggressive behaviour; and

● Issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100. A failure to pay the FPN may lead to prosecution and a potential maximum fine of £1,000, as would more serious breaches of the PSPO.

Why introduce this new PSPO for dog fouling and control?

Cheshire East Council has a statutory duty to keep land clear of litter and refuse (including dog fouling) and a duty of care for dealing with waste.

The authority also has a duty to take action against irresponsible individuals who fail to clear up after their dogs on land which is open to the public. Not only is dog mess highly unpleasant, it is also a hazard to health – particularly to young children. Roundworm eggs found in dog mess (toxocara canis) can easily be picked up by children. This causes stomach upsets, sore throats, asthma and, in some cases, blindness. 

Introducing the PSPO allows the council to replace and extend the existing dog controls and byelaws. This will give a consistent approach across the borough to dog fouling and introduce dog control requirements to encourage responsible dog ownership and ensure that everyone is able to enjoy our publicly-accessible open areas, woodland, heath land, country parks and public spaces safely.

A national survey found 95 per cent of Britons are worried about the amount of dog fouling. The council recognises that most dog owners are responsible and clean up after their pets but a small minority continue to cause problems.

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