Councillors campaign against dog mess in Ilfracombe
By Ilf_Peeps | Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 15:52
A campaign took place in Ilfracombe last week to help address concerns raised about dog mess in our town.
Councillors, police officers and street champions have been campaigning against dog owners that don't clear up after their dog in Ilfracombe.
From 18th to 22nd June, North Devon Council, Ilfracombe Town Council, police officers and street champions came together for the special high-visibility campaign. It involved partners taking to the streets to offer poop scoop bags and advice to dog owners and other residents, as well as highlight zero-tolerance towards dog mess.
Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Rodney Cann, says: "Dog mess is a concern for some people in Ilfracombe, as it is for others across North Devon and indeed the country. However, despite warning that it's an offence not to clean up after their dogs, there is a small minority of owners here who still continue to ignore this. We need to crack this, which is why we're going onto the streets with this latest campaign. Our aim is to prevent it from happening in the first place. However, we also have a very clear warning - that if we do catch irresponsible owners, we will take action."
The five district councillors for Ilfracombe Central, East and West also supported the high-visibility campaign and Ilfracombe Town Councillor Anne Thomas is backing the initiative. She says: "I am very pleased that this campaign is taking place. It is partly due to the strength of feeling of local residents, voiced on the Ilfracombe Town Council Forum over the past few months, which has brought this to the attention of NDC. It also has the backing of the Ilfracombe & District Community Safety Panel, who are working in conjunction with the police and PSCOs on this and other initiatives to try to address the problem."
Despite dog mess concerns being highlighted, the issue is just one of many that the council's Environmental Health and Housing team deals with. For example, since 1st April 2012, just over 1,000 requests for service were made to the team. This relates to issues such as noise nuisance and other anti-social behaviour, food complaints, health and safety issues, private sector housing and licensing complaints. Meanwhile, just three percent of this total relate to dog fouling issues across North Devon.
The council's dog warden service has a range of duties covering the whole district, so it is impractical for the warden to permanently watch hot-spot areas for owners not cleaning up after their dogs. Therefore, the council is encouraging residents to report incidents, by giving details such as names, addresses or car registrations of those responsible. This will allow for targeted investigations to be carried out.
Dog owners who are caught walking away from their dogs' mess face a fixed penalty of £75, which is reduced to £60 if they pay within 14 days. However, if the fine isn't paid, the owner can be taken to court and prosecuted.
To report a dog fouling offence, phone 01271 388870 or email the council at email@example.com. If possible, please leave your own name and address, so that council investigators are able to call on your evidence, should they need to, to build a firmer case against culprits.
Did you see the anti-fouling campaigners out and about in Ilfracombe? Has it made any difference to the amount of dog mess in our town? Have your say by commenting below.