Dog fouling: owners face £1,000 fines

Owners who don't clear up after their dog fouls a public area will face heavy fines
Owners who don't clear up after their dog fouls a public area will face heavy fines

Derry dog owners who fail to clean up after pets which foul public areas will be facing fines of up to £1,000 when a new Order is introduced through the council area.

The town clerk’s report to be presented to Derry City Council’s Environment al Services Committee on Thursday recommends that the council approve the creation of a Dog Control Order for failing to remove dog faeces.

At the Environmental Services Committee meeting in April 2014 members received a detailed report with regard to the establishment of Dog Control Orders as an additional means of promoting responsible dog ownership. A Dog Control Working Group has been established to consider guidance and develop proposals to implement Dog Control Orders in the Derry City Council area.

The Dog Working Group proposes that Council gives consideration to initially introducing a Dog Control Order for the following offence: Failing to remove dog faeces.

The town clerk’s report says: “This Order would make it an offence for the person in charge of a dog at the time to fail to clean up after it. The order would apply to all land to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access (with or without payment) which is open to the air (on at least one side) and requires anyone in charge of a dog which fouls, to clean it up immediately. The person would be guilty of an offence unless there was a reasonable excuse, permission, or exemption due to a specified disability under the Act.

“The penalty for committing an offence contained in a Dog Control Order is a maximum level 3 fine (currently £1000). Alternatively, the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty of £80 may be offered in lieu of prosecution; which may be further reduced to £50 for early payment.

“It is the Group’s opinion that this order, subject to public consultation and consideration, will enable Council to deal more effectively with dog fouling throughout the Council area. This Dog Control Order would also bring our Council in line with Strabane District Council who already have it in place.”

The report also says that seven fixed penalty notices were issued by dog wardens for dog straying and licensing offences as well as a fixed penalty for breach of a control condition which have not been paid. 

A fixed penalty is an opportunity for the dog owner to discharge any liability to conviction for that offence. 

The dog owners also received further written reminders to pay their fixed penalty notices.

As the recipients of the fixed penalties have not availed of this opportunity the report recommends that legal proceedings be instigated for the original offences.

It has also emerged that, in September there was one attack on people, 91 stray dog complaints, 53 fouling incidents, 18 stray dogs impounded, 12 dogs reclaimed, and four humanely destroyed.