On-the-spot fines for dog fouling agreed

Dog owners who fail to clear up after their pets could soon be hit with an �80-on-the-spot fine and councillors have left the door open for the introduction of further fines for not keeping dogs on leads.

Norwich City Council's cabinet tonight approved the introduction of a city-wide dog control order which would make it an offence for owners who do not deal with dog fouling.

As reported in the Evening News, dog fouling is one of the largest source of complaints to the council from the public.

But the by-laws which have been in existence up until now only allow the city council to fine dog owners who do not clear up after their pets �5.

That means the staff and administration costs outweigh the money the council could recoup in fees for fines, so it has not been financially viable for the council to administer them.

However, by introducing the �80 on-the-spot fines council staff, ranging from wardens and neighbourhood housing officers to environmental protection officers and civil enforcement officers, will be able to hit people with the fines.

Julie Westmacott, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and environment, said: 'Adopting this will be something which is very popular with the general public.

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'Dog fouling is clearly an issue and not a pleasant one. We know that dog fouling leads to significant complaints.'

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton, questioned why the fines could not be extended to people who let their dogs off their leads in certain places.

She said: 'If we are looking at spot fines for not picking up, why not for not having them on a lead under control in certain areas, such as children's play areas?'

Officers said there had to be an evidence base to put the control orders in place and, while the council had that evidence about dog mess it did not have similar evidence for dogs not being on leads.

Ms Westmacott said: 'I am not closing the door on the dog leads, but at the moment we do not have the evidence base. 'It's important that people report the issues to us so we can re-look at it in the future if there is a problem there.'

• People can report issues about dog fouling or not keeping dogs on leads by calling 0344 980 3333

• Do you think the council is taking the right action? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk