Clerk: Simon Weaver
71 Main Street, Thringstone
Coalville LE67 8ND

The Problem

Dog faeces being left in places to which people have access

The issues

Many people experience dog faeces as objectionable particularly if they make contact with them. They also object to having to continually be on the lookout for dog faeces.

Dog faeces can carry a number of diseases, some of which are of particular concern in children.

Dogs need to defecate somewhere.

The legal situation

District councils are able to make Dog Control Orders. North West Leicestershire District Council has made a dog control order that makes it illegal to leave dog faeces on any land anywhere in the district to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access with or without payment. Breaching this order can lead to an £80 fixed penalty reduced to £50 if paid promptly or a court summons if not paid.

District councils may employ staff to assist in the enforcement of these orders but they are not obliged to do so.

The National Situation

As a result of the Government's spending cuts the amount of money available to councils for functions that they are not obliged to carry out is very limited.

District Council Policy

The North West Leicestershire District Council approach to dog fouling can be seen here.

The Council has made various Dog Control Orders.

The Council employs enforcement officers who can levy the fixed penalty and it has an animal welfare office to give advice on the care of dogs.

The Council describes on its web site how people can email reports of incidents of dog fouling.

The Council also has a scheme to encourage people to clean up after their dogs by entering in a lottery people seen by enforcement officers picking up their dogs faeces.

Parish Council Policy

The Council encourages responsible dog ownership. We want people to be free to own and enjoy dogs and to look after them well for the sake of both pets and people.

We want to encourage people to see this as everyone's problem and not just something that the Council should sort out. We want to encourage an attitude amongst everyone that fouling by dogs, as with dropping litter and other actions which harm the environment, is not acceptable and not to do nothing about it but to make it clear that it is not acceptable.

Possibilities

  • Train dogs to defecate in dog toilets.

Pro:
Solves the problem completely

Con:
Dog toilets need to be kept clean by owners or if they are public, by council employees
Many owners are unable to train their dogs this well.

  • Collect up dog's faeces in a polythene bag and deposit them in a litter bin or owner's black bin.

Pro:
Solves the problem completely

Con:
An unpleasant task
Some owners leave the bags lying about or in trees

  • Stick and flick: use a stick to flick the faeces into a bush or hedge bottom

Pro:
May be a solution some times
Does not need polythene bags

Con:
May not remove all the excrement
Unless the destination of the faeces is suitable it may still be a problem for ground workers, off piste walkers, children, blackberry pickers, other dogs etc.

  • Collect up dog's faeces in biodegradable bags, these can be deposited in the same way as polythene bags or left in a bush or hedge bottom.

Pro:
Can solve the problem completely
More environmentally friendly than polythene
May save carrying the bag far

Con:
An unpleasant task
Unless the bags are left in a bin or in a suitable location it may still be a problem for ground workers, off piste walkers, children, blackberry pickers, other dogs etc.

  • Assertiveness: If members of the public see someone leave their dog's faeces, they are encouraged ask them to collect them up. Do so firmly and politely, e.g. "I would like you to collect up the mess your dog has just made". Do not get into an argument, if the person is uncooperative or abusive just walk away.

Pro:
The more people are challenged about leaving dog excrement the less likely they are to do so.

Con:
Most people are not assertive enough and are afraid of aggressive responses

  • Report it: If members of the pubic think the matter is serious, a deliberate or repeated offender, take photographs of the offence and send them into the Council.

Pro:
Should deal with the worst offenders

Con:
Requires the District Council to have the resources to follow up.

  • Create an online map of places where dog excrement is left, see this article.

Pro:
May be very effective at deterring potential offenders.

Con:
Would need quite a lot of community effort.

Pro:
Offenders could be positively identified and dealt with.

Con:
Expensive and slow
Would only be of use once the offender's dog had been found and tested.

  • The Parish Council employs a dog warden

Pro:
May well lead to a significant improvement

Con:
Takes the responsibility away from the public
The parish ratepayers will have to pay for this.