TAKE OUR POLL: Have Ashfield's dog poop fines made any impact?

The council says dog fouling fines are working to keep out parks clean, but some residents say they have made little impact and Brierley Forest, in particular, is a mess.

The council says dog fouling fines are working to keep out parks clean, but some residents say they have made little impact and Brierley Forest, in particular, is a mess.

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Only a handful of fines has been made against Ashfield dog walkers since new rules were imposed over a year ago, our figures reveal.

Critics of the new public orders say the change in law which means the council can dish out fines to dog-walkers not carrying faeces receptacles have only paid lip service to residents, while not actually having any impact.

A Freedom of Information request to Ashfield District Council revealed that since the new rules were introduced in October 2015 only seven fines have been handed out, compared to the 779 complaints received by the council in the past two years.

Dog excrement in public spaces is by far the most common complaint to the council's environmental team who patrol parks regularly, but critics say the change has had little impact.

Bailiff at Brierley pond, Gary Barfoot said far from having an impact, the poo-problems in the park have escalated.

He said: "Its worse than ever. Wherever you go there's dog mess. The problem is that people carry a bag so they won't have to pay the fine but then don't clear up after their dogs anyway. When I see them I ask them to pick it up, but if there's no one there they do what they like.

CPO Phil Bennett and Community Safety leader Charles Edwards take us for a a patrol in Brierley Forest Park.

CPO Phil Bennett and Community Safety leader Charles Edwards take us for a a patrol in Brierley Forest Park.

"I'm responsible for policing the fishing at the pond, I can't be policing the dog-walkers as well."

Read more:

Council gets tough with new rules on dog mess

New powers to tackle dog fouling get the go ahead

First dog walker fined for not carrying poop scoop bags

What ever happened to white dog poo?

Under the public spaces protection order it is an offence for anyone to walk a dog without an appropriate receptacle for their leavings, and potential fines of £100 are enforceable by council officers, wardens, patrols, PCSOs or the police themselves.

In the first few months of patrols the council said some 600 dog-walkers were approached and all but one could produce a receptacle.

Community Safety team leader Charles Edwards said when you put the statistics into context, they show that the fines are working.

He said: "For us it's a success because it means people are taking this issue as seriously as we are and residents are willing to work with us.

"Dog fouling is a community issue and one the people do take seriously. The statistics are open to interpretation - we are actually 14 per cent down on complaints about dog fouling compared to the previous year.

"It does happen. It's a very small minority of the dog owners - the majority take the matter just as seriously as we do. People say there's dog mess everywhere and as we walk around our patch we will see it, but it's not everywhere."

The annual rate of complaints has indeed reduced, from 416 in 2015 to 363 last year - effectively receiving one complaint almost every day.

Out of 10 dog-walkers stopped in Brierley Park this afternoon (January 26) all but one had bags with them. The one that didn't said it had just been used to clear up after their dog.

Ashfield District Councillor for Huthwaite and Brierley, Lee Anderson said the new rules have given little relief to walkers in the area contending with dog faeces around streets and green areas.

He said: "It hasn't had an impact. The problems still persist in Brierley park and on the pavements. I get daily complaints about dog fouling and if there is only been seven fines handed out that proves it's not working.

"The problem is people don't fear the rules. In other authorities I've seen they can use DNA testing to identify the dogs - it's the fear that people know that the dog mess is their's and can be traced back to them."