District Council Introduce Fines For Dog Fouling
- But can it really be enforced?
At the start of February, Mid Sussex District Council introduced a new dog control order whereby they can fine dog owners up to £75 for failing to pick up their dog's poo. Thankfully the fine will be reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days of the fine being issued.
"I am delighted that we now have zero-tolerance on this matter," said Cllr Gary Marsh, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Investment and Regeneration. "Nobody should have to put up with the mess left from offending dog owners' actions and, with the help from our residents, we can put a stop to it."
Vanessa Head, Central Area Ranger at Mid Sussex District Council had this to say:
"The majority of dog owners in Mid Sussex are responsible and clear up after their pets. However, there are some people who do not have their dogs under control and who let their dogs foul in public places. Dog Control Orders will help to make the district's parks, open spaces and footpaths cleaner and safer for all,"
How can you enforce the near unenforceable?
We would hope that The Dog Control Order has been introduced as a way to strike fear into dog owners so that they always clear up after their dogs from this day forth, thus the public can enjoy the local parks without stepping in anything manky.
However, If you choose not to pick up your dogs poo in a public place, then how likey are you to get fined?
Here are a few scenarios for you:
A Dog poos in the park. No one is around, owner does not pick up the poo and carries on with their walk = No Fine
A Dog poos in the park, owner does not clear it up. A member of the public sees this rule break and reports it to the council. Evidence based on an eye witness alone = No Fine
A Dog poos in the park, owner does not clear it up. An obsessive member of the public takes both a picture of the dog doing a poo AND a photo of the poo on the ground and sends them to the council along with a name and address of the dog owner. The Council contact the dog owner and present them with the evidence. The dog owner merely says that they did clear up their dogs poo and that it must have been another dog that pooed in the same spot. Lack of solid evidence = No fine
A MSDC Park Ranger is working in a one of the local parks (probably hugging a tree or something) They spot an owner failing to clear up after their dog. Ranger approaches dog owner, points out the rule breach and attempts to issue a fine. The dog owner asks the ranger to prove that the poo came from their dog. The Ranger, with no power to obtain a DNA sample from the dog to crossmatch with the poo, factoring in the related costs to have the samples analysed = No fine
The ONLY way to ensure a successful fine
Council staff hide in bushes, equipped with high zoom video cameras. They film EVERY dog they see. If they capture the dog fouling, with the owner walking away, they then have to keep the camera rolling as they apprehend the owner. Only then will they have hard evidence to fine the ignorant member of the public and collect at least £50 for MSDC in order to boost their finances.
This method would require staff stationed in every park in the disctrict, capturing enough owners breaking the law in order to cover their salary and related costs.
Chances of this being introduced? Well, MSDC never fail to surprise!
A pointless regulation that will strike very little fear into the ignorant dog owners that can't be bothered to carry around a few bags in their pocket in order to clear up after their dog.
Was this just an exercise in the council making the public think they actually do some work that can be perceived as positive?
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