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First fines issued to irresponsible dog owners under new PSPO?

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has issued more than 20 fines to irresponsible dog owners who have failed to adhere to new, harder-hitting dog fouling rules.

Promoted to the Sort **IT Out! the campaign, new rules were introduced on October 1, 2017, to help keep the County Borough clean. Dog fouling is consistently one of the biggest issues raised to the Council by residents – and a consultation earlier this year saw a unanimous verdict in favour of action.

The rules, enforced by a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), include:

  • Dog owners MUST clean up their dogs’ mess immediately and dispose of it properly.
  • Dog owners MUST carry means to pick up dog mess (for example, bags) at all times.
  • Dog owners MUST follow a direction from an authorised officer (for example, to put a dog on a lead).
  • Dogs are BANNED from all schools, children’s play areas and marked sports pitches maintained by the Council.
  • Dogs MUST be kept on a lead at all times in Council maintained cemeteries.

MORE enforcement officers are now out and about, and more than 20 irresponsible dog owners have faced the increased fine of £100, for not adhering to the rules.

A separate PSPO for dog controls at Aberdare Park only was also introduced on October 1 – stating that dogs must be kept on leads at all times. This rule has been in place at the park since a by-law was introduced in 1866, but would have been superseded by the County Borough-wide PSPO.

In consideration of these unique circumstances and residents’ views in a further consultation, the Council decided to keep the park’s existing rules.

Since October 1 enforcement officers’ patrols have been increased in streets, parks and the countryside across Rhondda Cynon Taf. In the first 20 days, officers were instructed to raise awareness on their patrols, to ensure residents were fully aware of the new rules before any fines were issued.

Since Friday, October 20, officers have issued more than 20 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) of £100 for a number of offences under the new PSPO:

The Fixed Penalty Notices were issued for offences such as dog fouling, dogs on marked sports pitches and dogs off leads at Aberdare Park.

Nigel Wheeler, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Director of Highways and Streetcare Services, said: “The Council’s clampdown on irresponsible dog owners has seen enforcement officers issue the first fines to those who continue to break new rules introduced by a PSPO in October, as we aim to keep our streets, parks and countryside free from dog mess.

“Instead of issuing fines, we would rather see residents acting responsibly by cleaning up after their dogs and avoiding the areas dogs are now banned from, for the benefit of other residents and the environment.

“The Council actively encourages responsible ownership with 150 new dog waste bins installed in recent years across the County Borough – with dozens more also being installed this year.

“The Council has clearly communicated the new laws brought about by the PSPO, while hundreds of signs have been put up across the County Borough explaining what this means in relation to each specific location. So there is no excuse for those who are caught acting irresponsibly by enforcement officers.

“These new rules were brought into force by the Council following an extensive consultation earlier this year, and a unanimous call to action by residents. This first set of fines for irresponsible dog owners shows the Council is serious about its clampdown on this important issue for residents.”

For information about the new dog fouling rules – including detailed maps of the areas in the County Borough where dogs are now banned from – visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/sortitout.

Posted on Friday 10th November 2017