Spelthorne extends dog fouling orders and touts speedier reporting system

Dog control measures to stop pooches pooping in parks and playgrounds are being extended.
Spelthorne Dog control Sign. Picture: submittedSpelthorne Dog control Sign. Picture: submitted
Spelthorne Dog control Sign. Picture: submitted

Anti-dog fouling measures first came into force in Spelthorne in July 2012 with the borough soon making national headlines for its graphic posters.

The order, which makes it an offence to take dogs into certain marked areas with fines of up to £1,000 if it leaves its mess behind, has to be renewed every three years. On Wednesday, January 18 Spelthorne Borough Council’s neighbourhood services and enforcement committee did just that.

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Despite the notices, dog fouling continues to be an issue with the council receiving around 80 complaints a year.

Leader of the council, Councillor Joanne Sexton also pushed for new signage to include scannable QR codes in the hope of making it quicker and easier to report offences – and therefore reduce the amount of dog poo lying on the ground.

Officers told the meeting that catching the antisocial behaviour in the act is extremely difficult given how brief the indiscretions are but said that by reporting it the council could find patterns of behaviour and look to target problem areas – turning up at 5am if that’s what the data showed.

The zones cover the council’s parks and open spaces with dogs excluded from fenced off areas such as tennis courts.

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Officers told meeting: “We would like people to report to us. If we know that a dog goes to the park at 3pm on most days we can put in some patrols to give that person some advice – we won’t go in heavy.

“Our aim is always not to give people fines but to make them compliant with rules and regulations.

“If people see dogs running around like crazy and frightening their dog they should report it.”

The council conducted a consultation, between September 18 and October 22 last year, into extending the order.

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It said it was widely published through the its website, Twitter, Facebook, press releases to local media, posters, and emails to relevant organisations including Surrey Police, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and The Kennel Club. In total 94 people, as well as the police and the Kennel Club, responded.

The report read: “The level of response means that we can be confident that we have a good understanding of the possible impact of the… proposals on the local dog owning community as well as residents in general”. It added: “There was strong support for the majority of the proposals..”

Spelthorne Borough Council provides about 550 bins as well as dog waste disposal bags in 50 of its parks and open spaces.

It is phasing out specific dog waste bins for larger general ones but stressed it still expected dog walkers to have sufficient bags with to deal with the removal of dog faeces in all scenarios.