Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is today previewing its Sort **IT Out! campaign to tackle dirty dog owners across the County Borough.
Last week, Cabinet Members agreed to introduce new, harder-hitting measures to tackle dog fouling by introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order which will come into force during October – and today is previewing the marketing campaign which will support these measures.
It will mean dog owners MUST carry suitable means to pick up dog mess, while dogs will be banned from ALL schools, play areas and marked sports pitches maintained by the Council. There will be MORE enforcement officers out and about, and dog owners MUST follow any direction given by them.
Dog fouling is consistently one of the biggest issues raised to the Council by residents – and surveys and public engagement sessions in a consultation exercise earlier this year gave a unanimous verdict in favour of action.
During engagement events, 98% of people agreed dogs should be kept on leads in playgrounds and cemeteries maintained by the Council, while 100% agreed dog owners must carry suitable means for disposing of dog mess and 99% agreed Officers should be allowed to give a direction to dog owners.
The Council took the message to be clear – residents want us to sort it out.
The Sort **IT Out! campaign, launching today as the Council puts in place measures for the Public Spaces Protection Order to come into force during October, gives a clear message to irresponsible dog owners – the Council takes dog fouling issues very seriously, and is putting more resources into catching the culprits so enforcement action can be taken.
The campaign is being backed by Collin Smith who, at the age of 15 in 1979, suffered a compound leg fracture playing rugby in the Rhondda. The promising Wales under-15s player caught an infection from dog faeces on the playing field, causing his leg to be amputated below his knee.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: “The launching of this hard-hitting campaign to tackle irresponsible dog owners in the County Borough has come about because residents have made it absolutely clear to us, that dog fouling is a major issue right across the County Borough.
“The Council has previously used ‘thought-provoking’ and hard hitting campaigns to raise awareness of the need to be a responsible dog owner.
“This campaign, which has been developed by the Council, is deliberately intended to make people sit and think about their actions.
“Come October, there will be more officers employed specifically to tackle dog fouling issues – and they will be working mornings, afternoons and evenings – a visible presence out and about in our parks, streets and countryside.
“During May, the Council successfully prosecuted one individual for dog fouling, which shows our zero-tolerance precedent on the issue, and that we will follow up with enforcement action. With more eyes on the ground, more offenders will be caught and prosecuted.
“Sort **IT Out! will run alongside our existing ‘Who Done It?’ campaign, where photos of suspected offenders for wider issues such as littering and fly tipping are posted on the Council’s website, in the hope that residents can identify them. That process will continue when new rules for dog fouling, under the Public Spaces Protection Order, will be introduced from October.”
Previously, the Council launched a hard-hitting marketing campaign to raise awareness of the serious issues dog fouling can cause, which received national recognition and has been subsequently utilised by local authorities across the United Kingdom.