Leeds ,

Residents to take action on foul behaviour

Residents in Garforth are taking part in a new trial to help tackle dog fouling.

With a surge in reports about dog owners failing to pick up after their pets, the council is testing a new approach along the lines of the neighbourhood watch scheme.

A team of volunteers are now acting as the eyes and ears of the council in the test area across Garforth.

The civic-minded residents will make a note of dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets and provide the council with the details of incidents and offenders. Once received, the council’s dog wardens can investigate and issue fines.

In order to be able to hand out the £75 fixed penalty notices for fouling, officers have to witness or have sufficient evidence that people have left piles of poo uncollected after their dog has done its business.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety, said:

“It beggars belief that after all these years of encouraging people to be responsible dog owners, we’re still receiving a tidal wave of complaints about fouling.

“The solution is easy enough; people need to pick up after their dogs. The majority of dog owners are happy enough to bag up poo and bin it appropriately.

“However, we seem faced with a perpetual poo problem so we need to try something new.

“Our officers can’t be everywhere all time and people may be more inclined to pick up after their pet if they know they are being watched by our eagle-eyed volunteers.

“We want to stamp out dog fouling – not in it – so we’re testing out a new approach that will hopefully help us pursue more fouling offenders.”

Ray Norcliffe, dog watch volunteer, said:

“The issue of dog fouling issue is totally selfish, but I think bit by bit, little by little, the penny will drop if we have a campaign such as this.”

The trial will run for approximately three months and the number of incidents, reports and penalty notices issued will be monitored along with feedback from volunteers.

The £75 fixed penalty notices are issued as an alternative to prosecution. However, failing to pay the fines could result in a court appearance and up to £1,000 fine.