Dog-fouling crackdown

Anti-dog fouling sign, Mesnes Street, Wigan

Anti-dog fouling sign, Mesnes Street, Wigan

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SHOULD councillors be given special powers to crack down on dog owners who allow their pets to foul public areas?

Coun Gary Wilkes told a meeting of the full Wigan Council about how dog fouling had blighted many areas across the borough and asked whether councillors could hand out Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) to owners who did not clean up the mess.

He said: “Dog fouling has to be one of the worst anti-social acts of an animal owner.

“Since 2005, the council has had more powers to tackle dog mess and the lazy people who have been allowed to do this.

“Issuing pooper scoopers and bags to people to clear up the mess and hoping it will go away is not working.

“We need a zero tolerance as it is the minority who has let the majority down. I wish the council to consider the option for councillors to have powers to issue FPN for dog fouling. I would be happy to issue a FPN to any dog owner who does not pick up their pet’s mess, as I am determined to help this council deliver these clean services.”

But Coun Kevin Anderson, portfolio holder for environment and communities, said that it would be impractical to allow council members to issue the fines.

He added that much had been done over the last year, 1,059 dog fouling inquiries were received; 775 site visits were undertaken; 52 locations had been identified as hot spot; 75 letters had been sent to perpetrators and 20 FPN notices had been issued.

He said: “Dog fouling is a significant issue and the council is committed to this problem.

“But I think it is not practical and has legal implications as a member’s role is to act as informants and intelligence to council officers, so things can be pursued in a legal and correct manner.”

But speaking after the meeting, Coun Wilkes said: “Even though we are councillors we are officers of the council. We have to be ratified by the cabinet who can give that power to councillors.

“Coun Anderson is saying it is not legally viable, but it is up to the chief executive and leader.”