Neath Port Talbot Council has issued more dog fouling fines to irresponsible owners than other neighbouring South Wales councils over the past four financial years, new figures show.
And in a report on how the Council is tackling dog fouling, it has emerged the authority’s waste enforcement officers are now seeing “a significant increase” in the number of owners picking up after their dogs.
The report added the problem of loose/stray dogs was also being addressed with enforcement officers saying the issue had “drastically reduced” with requests for dog wardens to pick up strays having decreased significantly.
The Council takes an in-house approach to dog fouling, having a team of seven Waste Enforcement Officers dealing with all aspects of environmental crimes including the enforcement of dog fouling, littering and the investigation and enforcement of fly tipping.
They link up with local PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) to carry out “Whole Team” dog fouling enforcement exercises in various areas throughout the County Borough on almost a weekly basis – the exercises lasting for three to four hours a time.
Council Head of Streetcare Mike Roberts said in his report to the Streetscene and Engineering Scrutiny Committee, meeting on Friday, January 11th, this approach had been used for many years and was highly effective.
But he added education was also part of the war against dog fouling.
He said: “Our officers have regularly been involved in partnership working with external organisations in an attempt to encourage dog owners to act more responsibly, including Paws on Patrol and The Dogs Trust.
“Our work with them has included the promotion of responsible dog ownership and the micro chipping of dogs as now required by legislation.
“More recently our officers are reporting a significant increase in dog owners cleaning up after their dogs, which has correspondingly reduced the number of tickets being issued.
“This is encouraging but the continued presence of dog fouling indicates there are still significant numbers of irresponsible dog owners who fail to clean up after their dogs.”
Despite some neighbouring councils using external contractors to enforce dog fouling, a look at fines handed out by South Wales councils in the four financial years from 2014 to 2018, shows Neath Port Talbot Council to have issued the highest number of dog fouling fines in total.
These are the total dog fouling fines issued (from 2014/15 to 2017/18) :
- Bridgend - 0
- Swansea - 31
- Cardiff - 122
- Carmarthenshire - 132
- Powys - 6
- Neath Port Talbot - 145
All of the Council’s dog fouling enforcement activities are publicised through social media (Twitter and Facebook) and have received positive public reaction.
Councillor Ted Latham, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Engineering said: “Dog fouling is a major concern for local authorities across the UK and it is pleasing to hear significant numbers of owners are now picking up after their dogs in Neath Port Talbot.
“The figures show we’re issuing more fixed penalties for dog fouling than other neighbouring councils and while it’s effective, there is still a minority who continue to be irresponsible. As a result we’ll maintain our joint enforcement and education approach which appears to be working.”