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TWO Irresponsible Dog Owners FINED over £1200

TWO irresponsible dog owners have received combined fines of over £1200 after they failed to adhere to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's Public Spaces Protection Order - dog control 2017 as they allowed their dogs to foul in a public place and failed to clean up after them. 

The first offender Paul Curtis has been forced to pay £604 following a successful prosecution by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Streetcare Enforcement Team.

Mr Curtis, aged 44 from Bridge Street, Pontypridd was prosecuted under Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's Public Spaces Protection Order - dog control 2017 after he failed to be in control of his dog and remove any mess left in the open air e.g. on to the public footpath on his street.

A member of the Council’s Streetcare Enforcement Team witnessed Mr Curtis' dog doing his business in the picturesque Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd and watched him walk away leaving the mess behind. Mr Curtis was then issued with a fixed penalty notice for £100 and was informed that he had committed an offence.

Mr Curtis failed to pay the fine and the case was referred to Magistrates Court.

If Mr Curtis had contacted the Council’s Streetcare Team he could have avoided this escalated cost by pleading guilty to the enforcement team and paying the fixed penalty notice, instead he was found guilty in his absence for his actions in court and fined £440, ordered to pay £120 costs and a £44 victim surcharge – a total of £604.

The second offender Michael O'Shea has also been forced to pay £604 following a successful prosecution by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Streetcare Enforcement Team.

Mr O'Shea, aged 53 of River Row, Abercynon was on his way to the local shop, whilst walking his dog and failed to clean up after his dog when it fouled in the street. The Council's Enforcement team witnessed him stopping with his dog and allowing his dog to foul on Ynysmeurig Road, Abercynon. Mr O'Shea then continued on to the local shop, failing to clean up the disgusting mess that had been left on the pavement. After exiting the shop Mr O'Shea was handed a fixed penalty notice for £100 and was informed that he had committed an offence under Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's Public Spaces Protection Order - dog control 2017 after he failed to be in control of his pet and remove any mess left in the open air e.g. on to the public footpath on his street.

Mr O'Shea failed to pay the fine and the case was referred to Magistrates Court.

Mr O'Shea was found guilty in his absence for his actions in court and fined £440, ordered to pay £120 costs and a £44 victim surcharge – a total of £604.

Since October 2017, when the new rules were introduced to tackle irresponsible dog owners who don't pick up their dogs' mess - Over 220 fixed penalty notices have now been issued.

THREE other irresponsible dog owners, were fined a collective £1468 for either walking their dogs on marked sports pitches or allowing their pets to run free on the sporting areas. These FIVE latest offenders, combined with the other SEVEN offenders that have been in court in the last month brings the total to fines to £5126.

All of these fines, with costs could have been avoided by following the new rules and being a responsible dog owner.

One of the key concerns the PSPO addressed was dog fouling on sports fields, which is not only disgusting and inconvenient, it is also a serious health risk.

Rugby player Collin Smith, who helped to launch the campaign, was forced to have his leg amputated aged just 15 after contracting an infection from dogs' mess that was left on the playing field.

As part of the new harder hitting rules the Council's Streetcare enforcement team has stepped up patrols across the County Borough, including hotspots reported via the Council’s social media accounts and through the Customer Care call centre in a bid to raise awareness, catch those responsible red handed and clean up our towns and villages. 

The message is clear from the Council - if an irresponsible dog owner is found breaching the rules of the PSPO we will take action and issue a £100 fine. Failure to pay this, could lead to court action being taken, a large fine, a criminal record and your identity publicised on the Council's website and Social Media channels.

The awareness campaign "Sort **IT Out" was launched alongside the new rules being introduced and highlights the dangers of dog fouling being left on the streets/parks/sports pitches.

The campaign also raises awareness of the new rules and the work carried out by the Council's enforcement officers.  

Nigel Wheeler, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Director of Highways and Streetcare Services, said: "The Council’s clampdown on irresponsible dog owners has now seen 11 irresponsible dog owners in court after they failed to pay their fines when they broke the rules introduced by a PSPO in October 2017.

“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.

“So there is no excuse for those who are caught acting irresponsibly by enforcement officers

"The new rules were introduced after residents told the Council they wanted to see action taken to tackle irresponsible dog owners – including areas such as play areas used by children and marked pitches where residents enjoy playing sports.

“The latest convictions demonstrate the Council's commitment to tackling dog fouling issues - if an irresponsible dog owner is found breaching the rules of the PSPO we will take action and issue a £100 fine. Failure to pay this, could lead to court action being taken, a large fine and a criminal record, as these irresponsible dog owners have now found out."

All the revenue generated from the FPNs is invested back in frontline services to further improve our County Borough and respond to the priority issues our residents have identified.

For more information on the new dog fouling rules in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and the Council’s Sort **IT Out! campaign, visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/sortitout.

Find out where you can and can't walk your dog in Rhondda Cynon Taf at www.rctcbc.gov.uk/walkmydog

Posted on Tuesday 31st July 2018