Labour Councillors are calling for tougher action to be taken against anti-social dog owners who do not clear up their dog’s mess, after information revealed by the Council shows that only four dog owners have been prosecuted over the past year in Westminster for failing to clear up dog mess – and only two of them have paid their fine.
Council officers say;
“In the last 12 months 4 penalty notices have been issued for failing to clear dog fouling from the public highway, 50 % of which have currently been paid and 50% are still pending. 10 verbal warnings have also been given for failure to dispose of bagged dog waste correctly, which was a key issue in some wards, and saw many of our litter bins stickered to show that bagged waste could be disposed in them. Every ward has their own dedicated Local warden who in addition to the Animal warden monitors identified target streets, and is responsible for issuing penalty notices to offenders for failing to clear up after their dogs. Despite this, dog fouling enforcement is still very difficult to carry out as the offence needs to be witnessed and the owners would need to give their details to the issuing officer, which in some cases could mean the offender just walking off or verbally abusing the officer. Those repeat offenders that are identified could face prosecution but this would not mean them losing their dog or limit them from owning dogs in the future. Those penalties are more common in cases where dangerous dog and animal cruelty offences have been committed. In addition to the 600 signs we have installed citywide we have continually been raising awareness through planned free micro chipping events (currently 26 events across 16 ward areas) advertised notices through Westminster’s resident newsletters and social media, which have also been put into relevant housing newsletters.”
Labour Councillors say that this type of anti-social behaviour by a minority of irresponsible dog owners is plaguing the lives of many residents who are faced on a daily basis with having to dodge piles of dog mess left on the streets.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“This everyday problem needs more attention and more resources to tackle those irresponsible dog owners who make life difficult and unpleasant for everyone else. The Council and the police need to take tough action against those who do not abide by the law. This may not be the most high-profile issue but it is one of the most common problems raised by residents right across Westminster.”