Chelmsford City Council is launching its fourth ‘Dog Watch’ campaign, encouraging people to report dog fouling. While most dog owners are responsible – research by Keep Britain Tidy (2014) suggests that 90% clear up after their dog – mess tends to be more of a problem across the country during winter months.
The campaign aims to bag-and-bin dog fouling in the city this winter, with officers dropping letters through doors and talking to residents to raise awareness of the initiative. If you see someone else failing to clear up after their pet, you are encouraged to report it to the Council by phone or online.
“Dog fouling won’t be tolerated in Chelmsford,” says Councillor Ian Grundy, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities. “Having our streets and parks befouled is unnecessary, unpleasant and, most importantly, bad for health, especially for children who play outside. We know most dog owners are responsible, but there is still a small minority who are willing to endanger others and think the law doesn’t apply to them. The Dog Watch campaign aims to show them that it does.”
Failing to clear up after your dog properly is an offence which can result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50 and a fine of up to £1,000. When Council officers witness an incident, enforcement action will be taken. A previous case resulted in a Magistrates’ Court prosecution and a total fine of £360. Reports from members of the public help officers to target their enforcement patrols, making them more effective.
Targeted patrols mean that the Council can be in the right place at the right time to identify and educate the small minority who don’t clean up after their dog.
But why are there more incidents in winter? The Council thinks it is down to the shorter days. “During the shorter and dimmer days, it appears that more dog owners are leaving their mess behind,” said Councillor Grundy, “perhaps because they think they can’t be seen in the darkness of the early evenings.”
To report an incident of dog fouling, please call 01245 606606, or visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk and click on the Dog Watch logo.