Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has been consulting with residents to secure their views on the range of measures that could be introduced to tackle the issue of dog fouling and irresponsible dog owners/walkers.
Launched last month, the consultation has now ended and has generated an overwhelming response. Twitter polls suggest that over 85% of the 894 people who engaged with the Council via social media supported the proposals.
Options consulted on included the consideration of:
- The prohibition of dog fouling in all public places,
- A requirement that dogs are kept on leads in playgrounds & cemeteries owned/maintained by the Council,
- A requirement to carry bags, or other suitable means, for the disposal of dog faeces,
- A requirement allowing Authorised Officers to give a direction that a dog be put and kept on a lead if necessary,
- A prohibition of dogs from all schools* and marked sports pitches owned/maintained by the Council, and;
- Increasing the fixed penalty to the maximum permitted of £100
*Assistance dogs will continue to be permitted on school premises
As part of the wider consultation, thousands of residents across the County Borough have put forward their views on how they feel the Council should tackle the irresponsible residents who let their dogs foul on our streets and fail to pick it up.
The Council visited parks, retail outlets, town centres, schools leisure centres and beyond to ensure that everyone had an opportunity to have their say on this important issue.
County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “The issue of dog fouling has been a prevalent one, particularly over the last year to 18 months, and one which we have tried to tackle through awareness raising and enforcement where necessary, as well as the provision of free dog bags and the installation of 150 new dog bins across the County Borough every year.
"It is clear that further action is required and one of the things we are planning is to increase the number of enforcement officers, to help tackle this and other anti social behaviour-related issues, as well as consideration of the measures we have recently consulted on.
“Recent engagement with residents at consultation events and feedback received via social media consistently flagged up dog fouling as an issue and unfortunately it is clear that there are still some irresponsible dog owners who refuse to clean up after their dogs. This can’t continue and is why we agreed to consult with residents over the possible introduction of new measures to help tackle the issue.
“The majority of dog owners clean up after their dogs and cause no problems at all but unfortunately there are some who don’t even carry dog bags with them when they walk their dogs. In this instance officers currently provide bags free of charge to encourage them to clean up after their dogs but the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order would allow the Council to be much tougher on irresponsible dog owners who have no intention of cleaning up after them.
"Early indications based on social media feedback show that the majority of residents we have spoken to support the proposals outlined in the recently consulted on Public Spaces Protection Order aimed at tackling dog fouling and the irresponsible dog owners who are blighting streets, play areas and sports pitches across Rhondda Cynon Taf. I would like to thank all those who have taken part in the consultation and given their views. The responses obtained are now being fully analysed and will help inform a decision on the matter later this year."
Over 110 tonnes of dog mess is collected from bins and Rhondda Cynon Taf’s streets every year.
To clean just one instance of dog mess costs the Council and estimated £150. The Council provides over 1000 specific bins near dog walking routes in a bid to make it as easy as possible for dog owners to act responsibly.
Dog waste is not only unsightly and messy, it can have serious health implications for children and adults alike, including toxocariasis.
Toxocariasis is an infection of the roundworm toxocara canis. The parasites eggs can be found in soil or sand contaminated with faeces and if swallowed, result in infection that lasts between six and 24 months or sometimes a lifetime. Symptoms include eye disorders, blindness, vague ache, dizziness, nausea, asthma and epileptic fits.
A recent joint operation aimed at tackling Anti-social behaviour, including dog fouling, saw officers speak to nearly 300 people and they are now planning to carry out further operations to address the issues raised.
For further information on dog fouling and how you can report it visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/dogfouling
Posted on Friday 17th March 2017