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West Wilts wakes up to dog dirt - about time

(February 12, 2009)

AFTER months of complaints and many people carrying dog poo into their front rooms on their shoes, West Wiltshire District Council enforcement officers are going to act they claim, writes Paul Macdonald

The local authority say they have joined forces with 'Street Scene' and their own dog wardens to tackle the persistent problem of thoughtless pet owners who ignore the chance to pick up their droppings or even worse to roam aboutthe streets.

The district council has finally woken up to the House of Commons which introduced the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

This provided councils with powers to issue fixed penalty notices to any person allowing their animal to despoil all public areas - as well as any litter and many other aggravations that they may spot.

The district council have now finally promised, following an increase in the number of reports of pets doing their business without their walkers bagging and dumping, that officers catching them will issue an £80 fixed penalty notice.

"We recognise that most dog owners act responsibly in clearing up after their animal. The aim of this campaign is to target the minority of irresponsible owners," Cllr Linda Conley said in the usual conciliatory way.

“West Wilts has been pathetic in its response to this piece of legislation which can also be used against litter bugs,” said Steve Dancey.

“One council in Hampshire has a zero tolerance approach to litter and dog dirt and used it to give an £80 penalty to a woman flicking a cigarette end out of her car window.

“While that tough approach may be regarded as extreme by some it has resulted in a huge reduction in the litter problem.”

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