Harsher fines for 'irresponsible' dog owners in Wigan

Tougher fines for “irresponsible” dog owners are set to come into force in Wigan after a survey found most residents support the move.

Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 2:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 2:32 pm
Bag it, bin it!

A public space protection order (PSPO) increasing fines for dog fouling on public land in parts of the borough are now being drafted by the local authority.

Wigan Council has been looking to put harsher penalties in place for the anti-social behaviour since March 2019.

A public consultation has taken place and the process is now expected to be complete in the coming weeks.

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Assistant director David Lyon said the PSPOs would help the council to take a more “robust” approach in dealing with irresponsible dog owners.

He said: “I think it’s fair to say there’s substantial concerns around dog fouling in the borough and it’s a very emotive subject for the residents of the borough.

“We get many complaints.”

More than 600 people, some of them dog owners, took part in a survey conducted by the council about the suggested new measures .

The vast majority of people who responded supported the proposals put forward.

Around 94 pc said dogs should be kept on leads at all times in church yards and cemeteries and 79 pc said they should be not be allowed in children’s play areas and marked pitches at all.

Most people, 77 pc, agreed dog walkers should exercise no more than four dogs at any one time, as advised by The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust.

More than 95 pc said dogs should be put on a lead on any public land where a dog is out of control, causing alarm or distress.

And 93 pc said enforcement powers for dog fouling should include all land that the public have access to.

Of the 602 respondents, 588 said dog owners and walkers should carry a bag to pick up dog fouling at all times.

The cabinet considered the findings of the survey at a meeting last week.

A “proportionate” and “enforceable” order will now be drafted by the environment department in conjunction with legal services.

The PSPOs will be brought in for all areas where they are found to be necessary, officials say.