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Dog fouling black spots to be identified in after review of ‘significant’ issue

Dog fouling continues to pose “significant issues” in Ashfield and the district council is to explore ways to better identify frequent black spots.

A review into the problem has concluded the authority needs to keep on putting resources and funding into tackling it.

Planned tactics include education measures about responsible dog ownership and ramping up enforcement powers.

Allowing a dog to foul without clearing up after it is currently an offence covered by the district-wide public spaces protection order (PSPO) – a legal tool used by councils to clamp down on anti-social behaviour.

Fines can be issued if an irresponsible dog owner is found to not be picking up after their pets.

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The authority says it also offers dog waste bags at the entrances of several parks and open spaces and that “forgetting bags … is not an acceptable excuse”.

Now, following a scrutiny review at the council, there are plans to identify hotspot areas where dog waste is frequently not picked up.

It also plans to ramp up efforts to ensure the district isn’t blighted by swathes of littered dog waste and encourage people to change their “social outlook”.

The issue was discussed by the council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday (February 21) following the review by the authority’s Scrutiny Panel B.

Councillor Christian Chapham (Ash Ind), chair of the scrutiny committee, reported its finding and said: “We’ve got residents who are effectively not being social.

“The council is literally doing everything it can.

“There’s definitely an emphasis on allowing residents to pick up after themselves but also finding those residents to change their social outlook.

“If we can get them to clean up after themselves it then saves the council money and therefore also saves them money too.”

During the cabinet meeting, Cllr David Hennigan (Ind), who represents Central Sutton and New Cross, said the district is “let down” by a few irresponsible people.

He said: “We face significant issues with dog fouling in and around Sutton Lawn and on the terraced streets nearby.

“The council is taking proactive measures and we’re working with the community protection team to check and make sure people are carrying dog poo bags.

“If the county council deals with roads and pavements, this is almost the bread and butter of what this council does.

“Whilst it’s clear the vast, vast majority of dog owners in Ashfield are responsible, it’s also clear there are a few dog owners who let us down.”

However, Cllr Matt Relf (Ash Ind), who represents Sutton Junction and Harlow Wood, believes the issue “should not be inevitable”.

“It’s a perennial issue we all face and, while we want to tackle it, seemingly there are irresponsible dog owners all over the world,” he said.

“I want to disagree slightly with Cllr Hennigan because he was saying this is what we look after.

“It should not be inevitable that people having dogs or litter in their hands should result in us needing to go and clean it up.

“It should be the individual’s responsibility to do that and we should not have to do this job – we have to do it because we want our area to be a nice place to live.”

Further investigations into tackling the issue will follow after the scrutiny panel’s findings were reported to the Ashfield Independent administration.

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