Point the finger at dog foulers

DOG owners are set to be hit hard in their pockets if they don’t clear up after their pets.

Fines for dog fouling are set to almost DOUBLE in Wigan - and people are being asked to snitch on those responsible.

The council’s environmental services plans to introduce a Dog Control Order and will start a statutory public consultation next month, with a view to adopting the order in July.

The Dog Control Order would apply to more types of land and increase the fixed penalty fine from the current £50 to £80.

The council is now asking the public to gather intelligence and report any incidents in a bid to tackle the problem.

The move was made following an increase of complaints about dog fouling, with 1,130 complaints between February 1, 2010, and January 31, 2011, compared with 1,026 during the same period in 2009/10 - a nine per cent rise.

Over the last 12 months officers have issued 22 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling, and 144 notices for littering.

The environmental service team has already begun educating people by issuing leaflets about responsible disposal and the health implications of contamination, especially for children.

Teams have also led pro-active campaigns by visiting hot spot areas, giving out dog fouling bags and installing portable dog fouling bag machines.

But the next step is to phase in enforcement.

Sally Wolstencroft, head of Safer, Cleaner and Greener at Wigan Council, said: “We feel we have educated people sufficiently in hot spot areas, but we can only educate so much. We now have to impose sanctions to promote responsible dog ownership.

“The main reason for pursuing dog fouling is that we already carry out enforcement under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act, but it only allows a £50 fine and we feel that is outdated.

“Penalties for littering are £80 and we feel the offence of dog fouling should have similar sanctions.

“The vast majority are responsible and are as keen as non dog owners to impose sanctions against irresponsible dog owners.”