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Dog fouling costs owner £1,000 after Stroud District Council takes him to court

Published: Tuesday, 6 August, 2019

A tip off from a member of the public about a dog that regularly fouled Brunel Road in Cam ended in the successful prosecution of the owner.

After receiving the information, Stroud District Council’s Dog Wardens Alex Myrie and Josie Oak patrolled the area on 14 March 2019 where they witnessed an unaccompanied fawn-coloured lurcher foul the green.

The officers followed the dog to the home of Ben Richards of 16 Brunel Road, Cam, where they advised him what they had seen. Mr Richards responded by saying that he was not prepared to accompany his dog and clean up any fouling immediately, adding that they would “just have to keep fining him.”

When asked why he didn’t let his dog use his own back garden, Mr Richards said that it was muddy and he didn’t want that mud being tracked back through his house.

The officers noted that Mr Richards had previously been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for the same offence and concluded that as that warning had clearly not been heeded, it would be appropriate to prosecute on this occasion.

On 29th July 2019, Stroud District Council successfully prosecuted Mr Richards on 29 July 2019 for failing to pick up dog faeces from land subject to a Public Spaces Protection Order.

Mr Richards did not attend the hearing at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court and was found guilty in his absence. He was fined £440 for the offence and ordered to pay £593 costs and a victim surcharge of £44, a total penalty of £1077. The Court found that the previous Fixed Penalty Notice for the same offence and Mr Richards’ non-attendance and lack of co-operation had been factors in determining the appropriate sentence.

Stroud District Council has a Public Spaces Protection Order in place covering all areas of the district that are open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access, requiring that when their dog defecates then the faeces must be removed forthwith.

Councillor Simon Pickering, the Chair of Stroud District Council’s Environment Committee, said:

“Every councillor gets complaints about dog muck. Not only is it horrible to step in but it presents a significant health risk, particularly to children. Our dog wardens are real heroes in helping to keep our streets and play areas clean. This latest prosecution should send a very clear message that the council will continue to pursue irresponsible dog owners who fail to clean up after their dogs.”

Dave Jackson, the Council’s Environmental Protection Manager, added:

“If you own or look after a dog, you take on full responsibility for cleaning up after it so that other people in the community should not have to put up with the mess. If the council has sufficient evidence then appropriate action will be taken against those that fail to clear up. The potential financial consequences should be clear from the results of this prosecution. Some remarkably public-spirited and dedicated people actually go out and pick up the mess that has not been cleared by irresponsible dog owners but they should not have to do this. We also hear of dog owners picking up their dog’s faeces in a bag and then leaving that bag hanging on bushes or discarded over the hedge. This is equally unacceptable, constitutes littering and could be harmful to livestock.

While officers do undertake patrols in reported hotspots, including outside normal working hours, we would encourage members of the public to inform us of fouling issues. Indeed, if they are prepared to provide witness statements of unlawful incidents then we will consider enforcement action using that evidence alone.”

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