ALMOST 4,000 complaints have been received about dog fouling in Wigan over the last two years yet only 73 people have faced action for failing to clean up after their pet.
Latest figures from Wigan Council reveal that so far this year, there have been 464 complaints about dog mess, whilst there were 1,275 reports in 2013. This had gone down from 1,810 calls in 2012.
While some of these calls can be for advice and requests for information or cleansing equipment, only a small per cent of these have resulted in a punishment.
So far, 28 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) were issued to irresponsible owners who did not pick up their pet’s mess, This has risen from last year’s figure of 19, which had dropped slightly from 26 in 2012.
The year before that, only one person was reprimanded, with 1,043 complaints, whilst only two of the 861 offences were given fines in 2010. Over the last year Wigan Council and its ward members have worked with schools and the community to educate owners and eradicate the problem.
No Dog Fouling stencils have been sprayed on pavements; new leaflets have been distributed and Dogtastic trainer Mark Calvert and his canine, Nell, have joined forces with Wigan Council environmental officers to talk to pupils about looking after pets and gave bags to parents.
Terry Dunn, director for environment at Wigan Council, said: “FPNs can be issued to anyone who fails to remove dog faeces on designated land via the Dogs (fouling of land) Act 1996 and repeat offenders.
“Failure to pay the fixed penalty can lead to prosecution.
“An authorised officer must witness the offence before a fixed penalty can be issued. Using information provided by residents, we patrol hotspots and promote responsible dog ownership in these areas to educate owners about their legal duty to clean up after their pet. We rely on this information, but it needs to be quite detailed – when, where, who – otherwise it’s difficult for us to catch them in the act.
“In areas of high incidents, stencilling and signage has been used to raise awareness but also inform the public that enforcement action may take place for anyone allowing their dog to foul and leaving it there.
“We would encourage any resident who has specific intelligence to continue to report and officers will continue to patrol these areas wherever possible.”
To report dog fouling call 01942 404364 or visit www.wigan.gov.uk.”