Posted on Tuesday 14 February 2017
Plans to tackle dog fouling, one of the biggest concerns for people in Gateshead, are among measures coming into force next month in an effort to cut down on anti-social behaviour in public places.
Numerous complaints from Gateshead residents about people not clearing up after their dogs, have prompted Gateshead Council to authorise Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) which will be enforced from March 1.
PSPOs give local councils additional powers to deal with individuals or groups of people committing anti-social behaviour in public spaces, which has a negative effect on the local community.
And one of the orders is aimed at the persistent problem of dog fouling.
The order is for the whole of Gateshead and will introduce measures to make sure anyone walking a dog has the means to clear up after it and then deposit the bag in bins, or take it home.
In a recent residents’ survey, nearly 80% of people questioned raised dog fouling as a major cause for concern affecting their quality of life, with almost 68% saying it ‘happens all the time’ in their neighbourhood.
The new order, which comes into effect on March 1, makes it an offence to be in control of a dog without having a dog waste bag, which is then put into a public bin, or taken home.
Breaching the order will result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100, or even prosecution, resulting in a fine of up to £1,000 if convicted.
Councillor Linda Green, Cabinet Member for Communities and Volunteering, which covers Community Safety said: “We are introducing PSPOs to encourage people to change their behaviour and have some pride in their local community.
“Dog fouling is a persistent problem across the borough and we know from our consultation on PSPOs that it is actually the single biggest cause for concern for Gateshead residents. Hopefully, the order will be one way forward in tackling this antisocial behaviour from some dog owners.
“Dog fouling is unpleasant, an eyesore and a health hazard, potentially causing disease and illness, especially in children. It takes very little time and effort to clean up after your dog and we need dog owners to take responsibility for their actions or face up to a hefty fine.”
The council will be raising awareness of the incoming PSPOs with dog owners, throughout February, as well as working on ways for members of the public to report any breaches of the order. These may involve immediate reporting methods for smartphones, or forms for residents to submit via the council website. The council will rely on information being provided by the public as, with limited resources, the capacity to patrol areas is limited.
Signs will be erected throughout the borough alerting people to the PSPO and what it covers and bags for dog owners will be distributed widely, in addition to the 5,000 bags already given out, ahead of the enforcement start date of March 1.