New information shows controversial dog walking law in Daventry proves to be a success

Dog walkers
Dog walkers

It’s nearly a year on since dog owners in Daventry were forced to clean up after their pets following a new law, which was introduced to tackle dog mess in parks and open spaces.

The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was designed to target the small number of irresponsible dog owners in the area, who create a health hazard by failing to pick up their pets poo.

A spokeswoman for Daventry district council told the Daventry Express that they now carry out more patrols since introducing the law in 2015.

She said: “It’s a year on since we consulted residents about the PSPOs. The measure asking people to have the means to pick up after their dogs if we approach them (ie poo bags) has proved controversial in the past, but the new information shows that all those we have approached have had bags, so they are not fined or prosecuted. I believe we have carried out more patrols since putting the PSPOs in place.”

The law means that dog walkers risk a £100 fine and potentially prosecution if they do not pick up their pet’s mess while on a walk.

Councillor Mike Warren, Health and Housing Portfolio Holder at Daventry District Council said: “The decision to introduce these powers was taken by Council in December but we felt it was important to raise awareness among local communities before fully enforcing it.

“We have not received complaints about the PSPOs or suggestions that we are taking a draconian stance here. Most dog owners in our district are responsible and care about their local environment, and these powers are not there to penalise them – they’re about targeting the irresponsible minority.

Owners could also be in trouble if they refuse to stop their dog from entering fenced-off toddlers playgrounds as well as not putting their dog on a lead when directed by a Council officer.

Daventry District Council was one of the first local authorities to introduce and enforce the PSPOs, attracting extensive national media interest.

The new powers were introduced in April and to date enforcement officers have approached around 70 dog owners in locations across the district, all of whom were found to be carrying poo bags.

He added: “Our officers take a commonsense approach on their patrols and are reasonable when considering any explanation offered as to why a person is not carrying bags. It’s not unreasonable, though, for example, to expect someone who has just arrived at a venue to walk their dog to be carrying poo bags.

“The only places in our district where dogs are excluded are fenced-off toddlers playgrounds. This is to protect very young children from the toxicara parasite which can cause blindness in young children.”

It is understood that more than 30 parishes and voluntary groups have been involved in a recent ‘poo spray’ campaign to highlight the issue and shame irresponsible dog owners into picking up after their pets.

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