Dog Fouling in public areas is offensive, anti-social and potentially dangerous to human health. It always attract a number of votes in the Forum’s quarterly survey of concerns. But it’s the sheer quantity of comment on social media that leaves no doubt that it IS a widespread local concern.
It should be obvious that all dog owners should take responsibility for their pets. But where this doesn’t happen, what can be done and who do you contact?
Our TVP Neighbourhood Police Inspector told us: “My expectations are that if any of the team see an offence occur that they deal as appropriate with it. That said with all our primary and statutory responsibilities, we would not undertake specific patrols for this matter.” And, of course, the idea of our stretched Police resources being deployed to stake out public spaces in search of errant dog owners is absurd.
The key responsibility in terms of policy and enforcement lies with Buckinghamshire Council.
Buckinghamshire Council Environmental Health operates a contracted dog warden service, which patrols parks and open spaces, and any other identified hotspots. They will also investigate complaints of dog fouling and other dog related complaints such as nuisance dog barking.
Under normal circumstances the dog warden would approach any dog owner witnessed not cleaning up after their dog has fouled, and they would discuss this and provide a dog fouling bag. However, due to COVID guidelines the dog wardens are not presently approaching dog owners.
Dog waste bins, provided through Parish Councils, are emptied twice a week. If a need for an additional bin is identified, this can be requested. Bagged dog waste can also be put in a normal bin.
But taking enforcement action against dog owners who let their dogs foul is altogether trickier.
The legacy Chiltern website advises:
- If you see someone not picking up after their dog, please speak to them if you feel comfortable to do so and ask them to clear up their dog’s mess.
- If the problem continues, you can report any incidents you witness to the council.
Some brave souls may approach an owner directly, but most would probably be reluctant. For reporting purposes, the Council will generally need details of the person committing the offence if known, a description of the dog and where possible dates and times of when fouling takes place.
A letter can be sent if the Council is provided with the dog owner’s address. But to achieve the threshhold for an owner to be fined, strong evidence would be needed in the form of a video of the dog actually fouling, ideally showing the owner knowing that his dog is fouling and making no attempt to clear up. To take action on a dog owner for not being responsible is therefore extremely difficult to achieve.
The Council is updating its dog fouling poster for use in all areas of Buckinghamshire and this can be sent to anyone who wants them, to display on notice boards or in areas of concern.
Residents wishing to contact the Council can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online form at https://www.chiltern.gov.uk/dogfouling You may also consider raising particular local concerns with your Community Board.