Lack of court convictions sending out the wrong message
People who allow their dogs to foul streets and parks and don’t clear up after them should be named-and-shamed in public, a leading waste management company says.
The increasing cost of cleaning up dog mess, plus the risk of disease means that councils and central government should consider further steps to make this anti-social activity a thing of the past.
According to the BusinessWaste.co.uk, the latest available figures for the fouling problem showed a staggering £22m annual bill for cleaning up dog waste.
″We’re dog owners ourselves,″ said BusinessWaste.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall MD, ″so it makes us particularly cross to see the mess left behind by irresponsible pet owners.″
″It’s clear that on-the-spot fines aren’t working, and further steps must be taken.″
With the British dog population estimated to be around 7.4million animals, BusinessWaste.co.uk estimates that issuing every owner with two biodegradable poop bags every day would cost around £13.5million – far less than the annual council clean-up bill.
″However, we’re more than aware that the most unsightly offenders are those who use poop bags, then just leave them lying around. That’s why we need more dog fouling convictions,″ said Mark.
BusinessWaste.co.uk has monitored press reports on dog fouling for some time, and is convinced that court convictions and on-the-spot fines are the exception rather than the rule. The company puts this down to lack of staff numbers as councils tighten their budgets.
″Often, it’s a job for the dog warden, with one person covering an entire town. It’s a huge public health problem, and a battle that’s currently being lost.″
″There are powers in place, but court convictions are very rare. Even if a local council has a dog mess ‘hit squad’ in place, they don’t seem to have the resources to act.″
Among the measures that BusinessWaste.co.uk would like to see implemented:
– Powers for on-the-spot fines devolved to PCSOs, traffic warden and any council official
– An increase in typical fines to over £100
– More use of CCTV to collar offenders
– The publishing of photos, names and addresses in local media to shame irresponsible pet owners
″We’d also like to see campaigns where the anti-social nature of this activity is highlighted, encouraging members of the public to snap offenders on their phones to help speed convictions.″
BusinessWaste.co.uk warns that public health concerns are very real in the case of dog fouling.
″You often hear the words ‘Think of the children’″ when it comes to any urgent issue,″ says Mark, ″But with toxocariasis, it is genuinely the very young that are most at risk. Clear up after your dog.″
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