Fines for dog fouling are set to DOUBLE in Wigan as council bosses clampdown on irresponsible owners who show a ‘lack of respect’.
The town hall is considering the hardline approach as dog related complaints and clean-up costs for the authority are hitting £150k per year.
Public space protection orders (PSPOs) could be established in parks, particularly around children’s play areas, according to an outline report.
The plans – which will go out to public consultation – would see owners facing £100 fines.
To illustrate the extent of the problem across the borough, officers have released a map highlighting more than 1,500 sites where dog fouling was recorded last year.
A report by director for environment Paul Barton tabled for discussion this week says some owners are posing a health and safety risk to the wider community.
It reads: “Whilst the majority of dog owners in the borough are responsible, there is still a substantial nuisance that can be caused by a small minority of individuals.
“Failing to pick up dog foul is the most socially unacceptable and dangerous category of litter left in our public spaces.
“We have estimated that the average cost for dealing with dog-related complaints, dog fouling removal, education and enforcement costs the council approximately £150,000 per annum.”
The PSPOs could see an outright ban on dogs inside children’s play areas within public parks.
And owners will be required to keep them on leads in defined areas around such play facilities and within churchyards and cemeteries.
PSPOs are proposed to be established around play areas in the following public parks; Haigh Hall, Pennington Flash, Mesnes Park, Jubilee Park, Central Park/Morley St Park, Leyland Park, Abram Park, Pennington Hall Park, Ashfield Park, Shevington Park, Astley St Park, Alexandra Park, Firs Park and Westleigh Park.
And the maximum number of dogs permitted to be walked by one person would be restricted to four.
The town hall has drafted the proposals as a result of feedback received during a recent consultation about the council’s forward plans.
“During the recent Deal 2030 resident consultation process irresponsible dog ownership was highlighted as a key issue for many of our residents, particularly the issue of dog fouling in public spaces,” the report reads.
“Over the past 12 months the council has received over 1,500 enquiries regarding issues of dog fouling, over 100 reports of lost dogs and 200 reports of stray dogs.”
The report adds: “Whilst rare, contact with dog excrement can cause toxocariasis which can lead to dizziness, nausea, asthma and even blindness or seizures.”
The PSPOs would be subject to a public consultation and formal discussion with the police and mayor of Greater Manchester.
Owners would be required to carry ‘means to clean up after their dog’ and must comply when asked by an officer to put their dog on a lead, particularly if it is ‘out of control or causing distress’, the report adds.
Under current legislation dog owners can be issued with fixed penalty notices (FPNs) with £50 fines, but the system is ‘difficult to enforce’, the report adds.
Under the PSPOs, FPNs would be issued for £100 with an early payment reduction of £75.
If adopted, the measures will work alongside a wider crackdown on environmental crime – such as fly-tipping and littering from cars – that has been launched by the council.
Mr Barton told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “At this stage we are just proposing to undertake a consultation exercise to understand the views on our draft proposals which take a targeted approach specifically around children’s play areas.
“We are certainly not proposing dogs would have to be on leads all of the time across all of our parks.
“We know dog fouling and responsible dog ownership is something local residents feel strongly about and we want to ensure we are doing all we can to help tackle the problem.”