The council has come under fire after it was revealed that only 36 fixed penalty notices and warnings were given out since December 2018 for dog fouling offences .
By Nathaniel Hardy-Doughty
The laws came in place to reduce environmental damage by dog waste.
Dog owners caught without ‘poo bags’ could be fined £100 according to the recent regulations.
But many dog walkers are unaware of the changes.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Jonathan Bentley argues that the laws are not enforced properly.
Councillor Bentley raised an issue with the “inappropriate” amount of fixed penalties that have been given as a result of the new regulations. He says
“I am getting more and more complaints about dog owners not picking up after their dogs. New regulations were brought in to require dog owners to always carry “poo bags” with them.”
“Leeds City Council take a zero tolerance approach to dog fouling offences”
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, who is an Executive Member for Environment and Active Lifestyles has said that the regulations were first implemented to educate dog owners on their responsibilities such as walking a dog on a lead in certain areas and not walking more than 6 dogs at a time.
He added “Leeds City Council take a zero tolerance approach to dog fouling offences”
However, Councillor Bentley believes the council could do more.
He said: “There is no enforcement.
“36 fixed penalty notices and warnings in the city the size of Leeds shows how little is being done by the Council.
“Councillor Rafique implied that the situation was improving because there had been a 20% reduction in dog related complaints.
“The truth is that residents have so little confidence in the council doing anything that they have stopped complaining to them.”
“The worst bit of having a dog is cleaning up after them, but you have to do it, its part of what you do”
Dog walker Hassan, 29, said he was unaware of the £100 fine for not carrying a ‘poo bag’
“I wasn’t aware of that but it doesn’t surprise me” and said that the regulation is “absolutely” a good idea.
He says that for a city as big as Leeds, only 36 reported cases of penalties for dog fouling is too low.
“It should be much higher than that, there’s tonnes of it around,I’m surprised that its so few. Obviously nobody is taking account of it”
Hassan said: “The worst bit of having a dog is cleaning up after them, but you have to do it, its part of what you do. But also if the council isn’t enforcing it, a law is useless unless it’s enforced so the council has to take action.”
Another dog walker, Sarah, 22, said that she was also unaware of the new regulations and was shocked to learn about the potential fine for not using a ‘poo bag’. She said she always has a bag on her but was not aware of the penalties in place.
“If it was common knowledge it would be a good thing because it would deter people from leaving dog waste around. But I didn’t know about it and I don’t think many other dog owners do. So if I got charged for it I would be quite angry”
“It’s 100% the responsibility of the owners to clean up after their dog” Sarah says.