No fines given to dog foulers in Kettering and Wellingborough

Not one person who let their dog foul in Kettering or Wellingborough was slapped with a fine last year.

Thursday, 3rd January 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:32 am
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The disclosure, revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the Northants Telegraph, means those who failed to clean up after their pooch ‘got away with it’.

It’s the second year in a row that Kettering Council and Wellingborough Council have failed to punish dog foulers with a financial penalty, despite both councils’ websites threatening fines and potentially court action for offenders.

Opposition leader on Kettering Council, Cllr Mick Scrimshaw, said he had received many complaints about dog fouling in Mill Road Park and questioned the council’s approach to tackling the issue.

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He said: “I recognise the difficulty in gaining evidence for a conviction but one of the problems of course is our wardens are in uniform.

“If someone sees them coming they are not going to let their dog do the necessary [and then not pick it up] until they’ve passed.

“On several occasions I have suggested other ways of doing it but if there’s no convictions, no fines, there’s no warning to others.

“People will get the impression they can get away with it.”

A Kettering Council spokesman said they take the issue of dog fouling ‘very seriously’.

The spokesman said: “The issuing of fixed penalty notices follows the witnessing of an offence, which can prove difficult, and is considered a last resort.

“Encouragement of responsible dog ownership is often more effective.

“The council is firmly of the view that the majority of dog owners in the borough are very responsible and take pride in their local area.

“Enforcement is generally intelligence led so that, where reports of problem areas are made to the council, targeted patrols by the environmental wardens take place.”

Both Corby Council and East Northants Council have seen a reduction in the number of dog fouling fines issued this year.

Corby Council handed out eight fines totaling £640 (down from 15) while East Northants Council dished out one fine of £100, down from 13.

But that is one more than Wellingborough Council who, like Kettering Council didn’t punish any dog foulers financially.

Opposition leader on Wellingborough Council, Cllr Andrew Scarborough, said dog fouling was ‘nasty, dirty and a health hazard’.

He said: “It would be good to see some successful prosecutions in Wellingborough.

“That would paint a very clear message to those that don’t pick up after their dog - that there are consequences to their actions.”

A Wellingborough Council spokesman said that while they hadn’t issued any fines they had issued a number of warning letters and notices to dog foulers.

The spokesman said: “Wellingborough Council is committed to tackling low-level crime across the borough and has recently recruited two community protection enforcement officers who will assist the council’s approach to tackle anti-social behaviour, including dog fouling.

“Officers carry out regular patrols of the borough, and the council recently introduced a borough-wide Public Spaces Protection Order which make it an offence for anyone not to remove their dog’s mess in public spaces throughout the town.

“While no fines have yet been issued, the council has issued a number of community protection warning letters and notices and due to the effectiveness of this approach, officers will continue to enforce this and issue fines when appropriate.”