If you would like to report an environmental crime such as dog fouling, fly-tipping, graffiti, fly-posting or litter in your neighbourhood, please ring 01803 207900, please provide as much detailed information as you can. Remember that the more information you can provide, the more likely it is that offenders will be caught!
Have you ever stepped in dog faeces? If the answer is yes, you will probably agree that it is smelly and very difficult to remove from shoes. Dog faeces are not only unpleasant but are also potentially harmful.
In health terms, dog faeces can contain a parasitic worm called Toxocara, which if transferred to humans can cause an illness called Toxocariasis.
Toxocariasis can take an ocular form which means that the worm larva becomes trapped in the eye which can cause visual impairment and possible blindness.
It is thought that young children are at a higher risk of developing Toxocariasis, as they are more likely to come into contact with soil or sand that contains faeces (for example when they are playing in a park or on a beach). Cases of Toxocariasis have also been found in sportspeople where dog faeces have been left on recreational play areas and sports pitches.
Most dog owners are very responsible and do pick up after their pets, but a small group of people choose to ignore the rules. Dog owners are encouraged to bag their dog’s mess and get rid of it safely and for those that continue to ignore the rules, a Fixed Penalty Notice may be issued by a Dog Warden, a Street Warden or a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) in Torbay.
A Fixed Penalty Notice is a ticket which means that the person receiving it has to pay a charge. If the person refuses to pay the charge they can be taken to court and the court may then decide to make them pay even more money or prosecute them.
Often dog fouling is caused by people not watching their dog and not realising that it has fouled. If you own a dog you are responsible for it, whether it’s on or off the lead. Be aware of where your dog is and what it’s doing at all times.
Remember that dogs don’t get fined for fouling but owners can get fined for not picking it up and getting rid of it properly.
Bag it, bin it or pay the price!
The Fixed Penalty Notice charge for dog fouling in Torbay is £75. If the charge is paid within 7 days, there is a £25 reduction.
Those dog owners that bag the mess but don’t bin it (for example they dispose of the bag in a hedge, a tree or a garden and by doing so are littering) could face a maximum penalty of £2,500 in court.
Taking a stand
In direct response to complaints from the community, earlier in 2009 a decision was taken to launch a campaign to tackle dog fouling in Torbay. The campaign was planned as one part of a year long strategy to tackle dog fouling in the area.
The aim of the campaign was to reduce the amount of dog faeces in public spaces, within Torbay. The campaign objectives were:
- To increase awareness of the issues associated with dog fouling.
- To increase awareness of the penalties associated with dog fouling.
- To highlight that public litter bins can be used to dispose of bagged dog faeces.
- To increase the number of ‘intelligent’ dog fouling reports received by the council.
- To reduce the number of complaints received by the council with regard to dog fouling in Torbay.
On 27 April 2009 the council launched its anti-fouling campaign. The campaign utilised two key methods of communication to convey the campaign message, namely an advertisement with a local radio station and ‘hard-hitting’ artwork featuring on bus shelters throughout Torbay. The artwork used for the campaign was purchased from Rhondda Cynon Taf, a local authority in Wales
In addition to advertising, the anti-fouling campaign consisted of a number of tasks to reduce fouling including:
- A partnership agreement with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary to enable Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for dog fouling. During the campaign, briefing information was provided to the local Police and two FPNs were issued by PCSOs in Torbay.
- Production of standard ‘cards’ giving advice as to what information is required by the Dog Wardens to help them catch offenders. The cards can be delivered to residents in fouling ‘hotspot’ locations to raise awareness about the issue and encourage reporting.
- Implementation of lamppost stickers to raise awareness about the penalties associated with dog fouling. The brightly coloured lamppost stickers are in accordance with Torbay’s dog fouling ‘brand’ and have generated positive feedback from the public.
- Production of bin stickers to be placed on dog waste bins and standard litter bins, to inform local people and visitors that bagged dog faeces can be disposed of in a litter bin.
- Circulation of ‘Dog Watch’ initiative’. Dog Watch consists of large, brightly coloured, branded tri-signs which are placed into dog fouling hotspots and accompanied by targeted enforcement. Each tri-sign highlights the penalties associated with fouling, and how to report offenders. Dog Watch signage is placed in areas for up to 2 weeks and then circulated to prevent desensitisation of the message.
- Publicity. A series of press releases were issued to the media throughout the campaign and publicity included news stories on local and national news. Information about the campaign was also featured in a national newspaper.
Throughout the duration of the campaign (27 April – 8 June 2009) a total of 11 FPNs were issued (1 of which by a PCSO) for dog fouling offences in Torbay.
If you would like to find out more about the campaign or the council’s strategy to tackle dog fouling, contact Community Protection using the details on the right of this page.
You can help to take a stand against dog fouling in Torbay by reporting offences to the council’s Community Protection Team. Information provided to the team by members of the local community can assist in the way in which the Dog Wardens conduct their patrols.
When reporting an offence of dog fouling to Community Protection, think about the following:
- Do you know of a dog owner who never or hardly ever picks up after their pet?
- Do they usually walk the dog at a certain time during the day?
- What times are the offences being committed?
- Where are the offences being committed?
- What does the dog look like?
- What does the owner look like?
- If the dog owner is using a car, what is the number on the registration plate?
Dog fouling can be tackled by the whole community working together. Some dog owners think that they can get away with not picking up after their pet if a Dog Warden is not around, but as more and more people come forward to report dog fouling offences, irresponsible dog owners may start to think twice about their actions.
If you would like to report a dog fouling offender, contact the Community Protection Team with as many details as possible either by telephone or email.
Remember that the more information you can give, the greater chance there is of offenders being caught.
Top tips for being dog savvy are:
- Where possible dispose of dog faeces in a designated dog waste bin.
- If you can’t find a dog bin, bag your pet’s faeces and take it home for disposal.
- If no other option is available pick up any mess and seal it well using a bag which can then be carefully placed in a standard public litter bin.
- Love dogs? Hate dog fouling? If you know of someone who persistently fails to pick up after their pet, report them in confidence on telephone 01803 208025.
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