Offenders could face court action
Sunday 6th April 2014 17:00 Community Posted by Max Wieland
PICTURED: Cllr John Taylor surveys the scene where irresponsible dog owners have been throwing poo bags on an area of wasteland in Stalybridge.

PICTURED: Cllr John Taylor surveys the scene where irresponsible dog owners have been throwing poo bags on an area of wasteland in Stalybridge.

A crackdown on litter louts and  dog owners who fail to clear up after their pets has resulted in 52 fixed penalty notices being issued since January, reveals Tameside Council.

The £50 on the spot fines have been issued to 21 people who dropped litter, nine owners who failed to clear up after their dogs and 22 people who breached dog control orders (18 for having dogs off leads and four for having dogs in exclusion zones such as children’s areas within parks).

Tameside Council staff  have been acting on tip-offs from members of the public to investigate and catch offenders. They have also been targeting hot-spot areas.

A high profile social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter has helped increase the reported number of incidents.

Deputy Leader Cllr John Taylor said: “We are planning to work in partnership to run a pilot scheme to clean up neighbourhoods even further.

“This won’t incur any costs to the Council, but it will dramatically improve the appearance of our communities.

“We know that a small minority of residents still think it is acceptable to leave their dog’s mess behind or to drop litter.

“It is not acceptable and most residents find it totally disgusting.

“We are working closely with local communities to identify these people who are making a mess of Tameside.”

He said one such hot spot area had been identified where irresponsible dog owners just threw bagged animal excrement onto wasteland.

“We just had a quick count of a little triangle in what is a fairly big area and we’ve counted 30 in a very, very small area,” said Cllr Taylor.

“In the last two to three weeks we’ve changed the way we look for people who are letting their dogs foul and not clearing it up.

“We are getting a lot of information from the public now. They’re giving us times, descriptions of the dog and the dog owner.”

He said more fixed penalties had been issued in just a matter of weeks compared with the whole of last year.

“I’m confident we will catch the people who are doing this,” he said.

“At the moment there’s a £50 fixed penalty, but I’m asking for that to be increased to £80 and I’m also certain it will happen.

“If you don’t pay that then we’re going to take you to court and that’s a maximum £1,000 fine.

“What tends to happen is if you go to court you pay £200 plus costs which can be anything up to £200 and then there’s a victim’s surcharge of £20. You might be looking at £400.

“There’s been a massive increase and I mean a massive increase in the surveillance we’re doing in Tameside.

“I just think it’s a shame that we’re spending so much time, officer time and money, in catching people who really should know better.”

The Council is encouraging people to help the campaign by providing information on where and when incidents occur and, if possible, who is responsible.

Court action will be taken against offenders who do not pay the fines.

These orders were introduced after research showed dog fouling was a major concern for local residents.

Anyone wishing to help reduce the problem can contact the council call-centre on (0161) 342 8355 or their local District Assembly via www.tameside.gov.uk/districtassembly

Full details of where dogs can be exercised on leads is available at www.tameside.gov.uk/dogcontrolorders.

 

HOTSPOT: A panoramic view of the Park Road corner in Stalybridge where irresponsible dog owners leave their pets poo bags.

HOTSPOT: A panoramic view of the Park Road corner in Stalybridge where irresponsible dog owners leave their pets poo bags.