Councillors say action needed on dog fouling

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Councillors have discussed ways of tackling dog fouling in St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath after it was revealed neither council has issued a fine for three years.

At an overview and scrutiny meeting on Wednesday, councillors stressed the importance of the issue to the community and argued a new report into the matter did not paint a full picture of the problem.

BFP Let's Be Proud of Bury campaign ANL-150519-161813001

BFP Let's Be Proud of Bury campaign ANL-150519-161813001

Following the meeting, the Bury Free Press is reiterating its ‘Let’s Be Proud of Bury’ message to encourage residents to take care of their town and report any instances of dog fouling to the council.

At Wednesday’s meeting it was argued a new report played down the number of instances of dog fouling compared to cases of fly tipping and abandoned vehicles.

Councillor Tony Brown said: “It doesn’t seem you have realised the scale of the problem especially when you say its not a big issue.
“We need to be a lot more proactive in trying to sort this out.”

Councillor Paul Hopfensperger said dog mess accounted for a huge number calls he received from residents.

“It is only a few people doing it but it’s a massive problem,” he said.

“In five years there have been zero maximum £1,000 fines given out in the borough.

“I think we need to look at all avenues of attack to deal with this problem.”

He said CFC Bury Football Club had been having to scrape dog mess from their pitch at Oakes Road in Bury for the past few years.

“Every day I’m getting letters and emails about dog mess on the fields,” he said.

Councillor Jim Thorndyke said: “When I started we had two dog wardens in the town, one north and one south.

“At least they were seen in neighbourhoods and people realised and knew they could be caught.
“Signs don’t work because dogs don’t read - we need to take it back to the owner.”

Councillor John Burns said: “As someone who monitors social media, this is the number one subject for residents.”

The committee asked that a joint Overview and Scrutiny committee was set up with Forest Heath into the issue and that further investigation was needed into six actions identified in the report.

These included creating Public Space Protection Orders in the town, bringing in a reward scheme for fixed penalty notices and looking into the ‘Paws on Patrol’ initiative in the area. They also argued the company behind DNA testing for dogs should come and give a presentation about the technology.

Councillor Andrew Speed added that progress needed to be made.

“What I would like not to see is us talking about the same thing next year”, he said.

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils said that the community can play a key role in helping tackle the problem by reporting information such as the name of the irresponsible owner, where he or she walks their dog and the approximate time of day.

Officers can then act on this to try to catch them in the act, fine them and highlight the case as a warning to others.

Please call St Edmundsbury Borough Council on 01284 763233 or email customer.services@westsuffolk.gov.uk or Forest Heath District Council on 01638 719000 or email customer.services@westsuffolk.gov.uk.