10/10/2023 - Permalink

New powers proposed to help tackle dog mess across Shropshire

Related topics: Democracy / Highways, transport and environmental maintenance

Shropshire Council could soon be granted powers to issue fines for dog fouling, if plans to introduce a countywide ‘public spaces protection order’(PSPO) are agreed.

At their meeting on Wednesday 18 October [2023], the council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve a consultation into the introduction of a PSPO for the geographic area of Shropshire. The PSPO would enable the council to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £100 to those who allow their dogs to foul pavements and public spaces.

Under the PSPO, dogs would also be excluded from play and sports areas and would be required to wear a lead on the public highway. Officers would also have the power to ask for a dog to be put on a lead where they aren’t under the control of their owner or are acting aggressively.

The consultation would run for eight weeks, with the findings then brought back to Cabinet for further consideration early next year.

As both public education and enforcement are required to encourage responsible dog ownership, if a PSPO is agreed an educational campaign would be run ahead of the new rules coming into effect.

Dan Morris, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways, said:

“Dog poo is unsightly, it’s unpleasant and it’s a health risk, and it’s the responsibility of all dog owners to clean up after their dog.

“However, an internal review last winter found an increasing number of complaints to the council about dog fouling, and concerns that we are not taking sufficient enforcement action.

“It was agreed that the council’s legislative powers be reviewed, and measures implemented to enable enforcement for the control of dogs and for addressing dog fouling – and a PSPO is the best way to do this.

“The PSPO would allow the council’s dog warden service to take enforcement action against dog owners who allow their animals to foul pavements and public amenity spaces, by enabling the issue of fixed penalty notices for dog fouling.

“It will also help to prevent dogs from entering play areas, and ensure that dogs are kept on leads on the public highway, and must wear a lead if out of control or acting aggressively.”

PSPOs create a framework that either replaces or updates existing public space restrictions such as alcohol Designated Public Place Orders and Dog Control Orders and permits local authorities to introduce new regulations.

If agreed by Cabinet the public consultation will seek the views of the public, and a range of stakeholders and key partners, to help ensure any concerns are understood in advance of a PSPO being introduced.

Further information

1 – The proposal  is to implement a Public Spaces Protection Order for the prevention of dog fouling and the collection and disposal or dog waste by dog owners.

The prohibition would relate to:

  • Allowing dog fouling in the public area.
  • Failure to appropriately remove and dispose of dog waste if a dog has been allowed to foul.
  • Dog exclusion from play areas, equipped and fenced sports areas:
  • Dogs on leads by direction.
  • Dogs on leads on the highway: There is an exemption to any exclusion requirement for registered assistance dogs.

Orders can be enforced by a police officer, a police community support officer, authorised council officers and employees of other delegated organisations.

A breach of the PSPO can be dealt with through the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100, or a level 3 fine (max £1000) on prosecution.

In establishing a PSPO, appropriate signage must be displayed in accordance with the requirements of the Act on entry points to the public area and within the said area.

2 – About PSPOs

The power to make an Order rests with local authorities, in consultation with the police and other relevant bodies who may be affected. A local authority can make a PSPO in respect of any public space within its administrative boundary. The definition of public space is wide and includes any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.

A PSPO can be in force for any period up to a maximum of three years after which time the Local Authority must consider whether to put in place another PSPO.

Appeals against a draft PSPO can be lodged by anyone who lives in, or regularly works in or visits the area in the High Court within six weeks of issue. Further appeal can be made when a PSPO is varied by the local authority.