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Can’t pick it up? Dog walkers face £100 fine for not cleaning up

Following a consultation, the council have implemented new controls for dogs in public spaces

DOG walkers could be fined £100 if their pet fouls and if they don’t have the means to clean it up.

At last night’s cabinet meeting, the council agreed to a new Public Space Protection Order for dog controls.

It prohibits dog fouling in public spaces and has introduced a requirement for dog owners to be able demonstrate they can pick up any mess made – with a potential £100 penalty for offenders.

The council is applying for legal powers to introduce these controls, which could take until the end of the year.

Russell Lawson, 47, from Whitchurch agreed with the penalties. “I think it’s disgusting that people don’t pick their dog mess up. It’s not hard – I have loads of bags with me now.

“I often tell people to clean up after their dog. Really, you’ve got to be able to clean up after your dog.”

The 47-year-old, who regularly walks his dog through Bute Park, says dog controls should go further and a licence should be introduced to ensure dogs have responsible owners.

He said: “Being a responsible dog owner, I think we should have a dog licence that works much like a driving licence, where you get points for repeat offences and could lead to dogs being taken away from irresponsible owners.

“Just because people have bags it doesn’t mean they will always pick up after.”

Alison Roach, 31, and Ruby Smith, 31 said it was a “step in the right direction” but were concerned responsible owners may get penalised unfairly.

Ms Roach said: “Sometimes you run out of bags and have to borrow one from other dog walkers, or you may forget, or not bring enough with you. But it is a good idea, you should have to pick up after your dog.”

Ms Smith, however, said it may not be a deterrent to some. “Just because people have bags it doesn’t mean they will always pick up after.”

The council say it will be “very targeted” to specific “trouble spots” which uses information gathered by residents’ complaints and intelligence gathered from officers.

The new controls aimed to tackle dog fouling comes after a consultation which received 6,002 responses.

Initial proposals suggested banning dogs from marked sports pitches, however, following the consultation that was dropped.

Peter Bradbury, councillor for Cathays and cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “We’ve listened carefully to feedback from dog owners in the consultation.

“We know the majority of dog owners are responsible, keep their dogs under control and clean up after their pets. But unfortunately, thanks to an irresponsible minority, we receive hundreds of complaints each year about dog faeces.

The council will use environment enforcement officers and park rangers to enforce the new rules – and say they have opened discussions with the police to see if Police Community Support Officers will help.

As well as prohibiting fouling in public spaces and requiring owners to have a means of clearing up, the new controls will also:

  • Exclude dogs from all enclosed playgrounds and schools, which are owned or maintained by the council.
  • Require dogs to be kept on leads in cemeteries.
  • Allow officers to give direction that a dog be put on a lead, if necessary, and
  • Fine people £100 for any of these breaches.

The dog controls will be exempt for people who have a disability and have a dog, trained by a registered charity, to provide assistance.

Coun Bradbury added: “We will work with dog owner groups to ensure the smooth implementation of any changes over the coming year.”

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