Dog Fouling Fines to Increase from 1 June
Ards and North Down Borough Council is cracking down on dog fouling in the Borough, with fines for failing to remove dog poop increasing from £80 to £200 from 1 June.
The move comes as the Council aims to improve the cleanliness and overall environment of the area, as well as promote responsible dog ownership.
The Council's Neighbourhood Environment Team is responsible for enforcing laws related to dog fouling. Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 and relevant dog control orders, it is a criminal offence to fail to remove dog faeces unless exempted by the legislation.
It is important to note that as stated by the regulations, being unaware of a dog's defecation or not having a device or other suitable means of removing the faeces is not a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with the order. Council officers also have lawful powers to obtain the names and addresses from individuals after an offence has been committed. The failure or refusal to provide this information constitutes a further offence.
Officers are continuing to actively patrol areas and investigate complaints with a view to gathering evidence and enforce the legislation through the issue of a £200 fixed penalty notice (reduced to £150 if paid within 14 days). It should be noted that if the fixed penalty fine is not paid, a court summons will be issued where, if convicted, a maximum fine of £1000 could be imposed.
If the dog poop has been left in a bag, this is treated as littering, and a maximum fine of £2500 could be imposed if convicted in court.
The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Karen Douglas, said:
"This increase in fines is intended to act as a deterrent to those who continue to flout the law and not pick up after their pets. We all have a responsibility to keep our streets and public spaces clean and safe for everyone to enjoy. Dog owners, in particular, have a responsibility to clean up after their pets. We want to create a Borough that is clean and welcoming for everyone. It is not only the law, it is the right thing to do."
The Council is working hard to promote responsible dog ownership and encourage people to clean up after their pets. This includes running educational campaigns on an ongoing basis to raise awareness of the issue.
The increase in fines for dog fouling is just one part of the Council's broader efforts to improve the cleanliness and overall environment of the area. By working together, we can create a cleaner and safer environment for everyone to enjoy.
Photo caption: Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Environment Team patrolling the Borough. (Image: Graham Baalham-Curry.)