‘Nil’ fines for dog fouling in Huntingdonshire

THERE have been no fines issued for dog fouling in Huntingdonshire for a year.

In the same week that children from St Peter’s School, Thongsley Fields Primary School, Huntingdon Junior School and Cromwell Park School called for action on dog fouling, Huntingdonshire District Council revealed that its officers had not issued a single fine to errant dog owners between March 2010 and last month.

Any person in charge of a dog who is caught failing to clear up after it is liable for an on-the-spot �75 fine under the Fouling of Land by Dogs (Huntingdonshire) Order 2007.

The situation is unlikely to improve as there is currently only one full-time dog warden patrolling the entire district after a second warden took voluntary redundancy last month.

Huntingdon town councillors believe some action is needed to stop the dog fouling problem.

Councillor Alan MacKender-Lawrence told The Hunts Post: “We should have more than one dog warden. It is pretty obvious when you are going around Oxmoor that there are places where it is really bad.

“You go up the top of Norfolk Road, and there are dogs always running around up there, and you do not see anybody with plastic bags in their hands.”

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Councillors met with eight and nine year olds from Huntingdon schools and were told that dog mess at Cromwell Park and land behind the MS Therapy Centre was a concern for them. The concerns were due to be passed to the Huntingdon neighbourhood forum meeting tonight (Wednesday).

Cllr MacKender-Lawrence, who chaired the meeting with the children, said: “We asked the students to come up with things that they found they did not like. We wanted to find out what were their issues or concerns and what they would like to see.

“Dog poo in parks and around the place came up as a concern for them. We decided there was an education issue that needed to be sorted, and maybe dog wardens should go into schools before the summer term break. Often parents ask youngsters to take the dog for a walk and the children are adverse to scooping up poo.

“Owners should also be aware when dogs are outside in public places, they are supposed to be kept on a lead, and they do not have to use the red bin [for dog waste], any litter bin will do, so long as it is bagged.”

An HDC spokesman said: “We have not issued any fines for dog fouling, mainly because it is difficult to discover the culprit. We do receive complaints. Our first step is to issue some kind of warning and talk to people. If it happens again, we need somebody who has made a complaint to act as a witness and make a statement.”

Dog wardens are responsible for carrying out regular inspections of boarding kennels and catteries, promoting responsible dog ownership and offering advice on problem pets, re-uniting lost dogs with their owners, assisting in re-homing unwanted dogs, and dealing with stray dogs.