Only 33 fines given for dog fouling in five years across Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 September 2019
A freedom of information request has revealed the number of fines handed out for dog mess across Suffolk in the past five years.
In total Suffolk's district councils have issued 33 fixed penalty notices for dog mess since 2014, fines for the notices range from around £50 up to £80 across the district. This can rise up to £1000 if there is a conviction in court.
What were the results for each council?
The highest number of fines came in East Suffolk which issued 21 in the same time period. Thirteen of the council's notices were issued in 2018 and eight on the same road in one village. Eight notices were handed out in Cooper's Close in Witnesham.
Steven Barron, clerk at Swilland and Witnesham Parish Council said that the notices were all against the same household.
"This remains an ongoing issue," he added.
James Mallinder, cabinet member for the environment at East Suffolk said: "Our district is a very dog friendly place and we know that most dog owners are responsible and clear up after their pets.
"There are a small number of inconsiderate people who feel the rules do not apply to them, but there is absolutely no excuse for failing to clear up after your dog.
"We want to ensure that all public areas are safe for everyone to enjoy and will not hesitate to take action against anyone who is found responsible for despoiling our environment."
Eight notices were handed out by West Suffolk Council with the majority of those being handed out in Bury St Edmunds and Pakenham.
Peter Stevens, portfolio holder for operations, said: "The majority of dog owners are responsible and clear up after their pets, recognising the need to keep our public areas clean and the harm that leaving it can cause. We have a range of measures to encourage people to clear up after their dogs and enforcement is always a last resort.
"This includes providing bins specifically for dog mess as well as bags at places where people walk their dogs to pick up after them and warning letters. We do and will enforce but this can be difficult. Our aim is to reduce the amount of dog mess and we find that working with local communities to educate people is a more effective tool than having staff continuously watching parks and open spaces.
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"That said, we do encourage people to let us know if they are aware of someone who doesn't pick up after their dog, by phoning Customer Services on 01284 763233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org - we can then investigate the matter and fine culprits if they are identified."
Only four notices were issued in Ipswich with these coming in Luther Road, Nacton Road, Bramford Road and Suffolk Road.
A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: "We do take legal action when we can but it is not easy to catch culprits at the time of the offence. However, we do acknowledge that the vast majority of pet owners are responsible and clean up after their dogs."
Mid Suffolk and Babergh
No notices at all were issued by Babergh and Mid Suffolk Councils during the specified time period.
A spokesman for Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils said: "We take great pride in our districts and many miles of beautiful rural walks on offer to visitors, residents and their canine companions. We share the frustration and anger caused by an inconsiderate minority of owners who fail to clear up after their pets and will act on any reliable evidence from a member of the public seeing an offence being committed. We urge people to report dog fouling on our website.
"In the meantime, we continue to focus our efforts on working together with our Parish and Town Councils to encourage responsible dog ownership through the installation and maintenance of dog bins across our districts."
What does Suffolk think about dog fouling?
We asked readers to take part in an online poll about dog fouling which asked two important questions; is dog mess a problem in your area and do you think fines for dog mess are effective.
Over 100 people took part in each poll with the majority reporting that dog mess was a problem in their area and that they didn't believe fines were effective.
Sylvia Hawes said on Facebook: "Sadly this is an ongoing problem I believe its down to a few very lazy inconsiderate people.
"It is often difficult for someone to report because you have to be able to give nine date and place and be prepared to go to court if you report it."
Vicki Logan Beckett added: "Yes unfortunately we see an increase during holiday periods when visitors with dogs feel too relaxed to pick up after their pets."