18/04/2024 - Permalink

New powers agreed to help tackle dog mess

Related topics: Highways, transport and environmental maintenance

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet has agreed to introduce a ‘public spaces protection order’ (PSPO) to help tackle dog fouling and nuisance. The PSPO will come into effect on Saturday 1 June 2024.

It follows an eight-week public consultation into the proposals held late last year, that received a largely positive response – and that led to small number of amendments being made to the original proposals.

The PSPO will enable Shropshire Council and the police to issue fixed penalty notices of £100 – or £50 if paid within 10 days – to owners who allow their animals to foul pavements and public amenity spaces without clearing up afterwards.

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

The PSPO will be implemented with a public education and information exercise, adequate bin provision and signage for enclosed exclusion zones so that any enforcement action taken is both ‘reasonable and proportionate’. 

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

“Following 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. A PSPO is the best way to do this, but it was important to seek people’s views before anything was agreed or implemented, and I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation into our original proposals.

“As enforcement on its own will be insufficient to secure a change in behaviour and attitudes, we’re planning to run a proactive public information campaign at the same time.”

The consultation into the proposed PSPO ran from 27 October to 21 December 2023, with 561 responses received. Some 63% of respondents were in support of the proposals.

Further information

The proposals contained in the Cabinet report and for the Order are intended to encourage responsible dog ownership and control of animals in public spaces and as follows: 

  1. To prevent public health nuisance the first prohibition is asking dog owners to clean up after their animals have defecated and to dispose of the waste in a suitable receptacle
  2. To prevent public health nuisance, particularly for the young and vulnerable members of the public, dog owners are being asked to exclude their animals from fenced and enclosed play, equipped and sports areas.
  3. To prevent the nuisance of uncontrolled dogs in public areas the Order provides authorised officers with the ability to ask dog owners to leash their animals ‘by direction’, and if required to issue Fixed Penalty Notices if owners do not comply.
  4. The last prohibition proposed relates to animals being walked on the highway and is asking for dogs to be ‘leashed’ to prevent a safety hazard for members of the travelling public, dog owners and the animals.

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

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.