Supervise, Pick it Up and Report Fouling
Allowing a dog to foul in a public place without removing the mess is an offence. Officers from the Neighbourhood Environment Team will issue fines where they observe the offence.  If your dog fouls in a public place, including beaches and streets you must always pick it up, bag it and put it in the nearest litter bin.  Burying or covering it is not sufficient, it must be removed or you will be fined.

As well as regular enforcement patrols to detect offenders, the team is involved in campaigns to reduce straying and therefore the likelihood of dog fouling and also run educational programmes to promote responsible dog ownership. 

Dangers
Dog faeces can carry a variety of worms that can be passed to humans and cause illness.  These include toxocara canis, tapeworm, hookworm and whipworm.  If your hands come into contact with dog faeces it is important that you wash them thoroughly as soon as possible.  Avoid contact with your eye and mouth until you do so. All faeces contain bacteria that can cause stomach upsets, but the greatest risk is from toxocariasis. Find out more about toxocariasis here.

Reporting Fouling
If you see a dog owner failing to pick up after their dog please contact us.  Please give as much information as possible.  We need your help to tackle fouling, if you see it, please report it to the Neighbourhood Environment Team on 0300 013 3333.

Fixed Penalty Fines

The Neighbourhood Environment Team is charged with enforcing laws relating 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 should be noted that the prescribed Fouling of Land by Dogs Order in Schedule 1 to the Offences Regulations states specifically that 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.

In practice this means that just because you don’t see your dog foul or don’t supervise it closely enough to be able to lift the foul that is not an excuse.

Unfortunately Enforcement Team Officers regularly encounter people who may not have intended to leave foul behind, but who have to pay fines because they were not properly supervising their dogs.

This could be because 

  • the dog was walking behind or at a distance from them;
  • they were chatting to friends or are on the phone;
  • they simply had too many dogs to supervise at one time.

Officers will actively patrol areas and investigate complaints with a view to gathering evidence and enforcing the legislation through the issue of a £200 fixed penalty notice or prosecution.

Paying the fixed penalty fine
You must pay the fine within 28 days to avoid the possibility of prosecution.

Disputing a fine
If you want to dispute the fine you need to write to us as soon as possible after it has been issued. In this letter you should:

  • quote the fixed penalty notice reference number (in the top right corner of the notice)
  • include all relevant information for your dispute

We'll review your case and advise you of the outcome.  If you're unsuccessful you must pay the fine in order to discharge liability to conviction.

  • If you don't pay the fine
  • If you don't pay the fixed penalty you'll be summonsed to appear in court. If convicted you could face a fine of up to £1000.  Once a summons is issued we may accept payment of the fixed penalty. However, you'll also be liable for the additional administration and legal costs incurred.  

For more information contact the Neighbourhood Environment Team on 0300 013 3333.

Tips for dog walkers

  • carry a plastic bag or 'poop scoop' with you
  • teach your dog to go to the toilet in your garden before you leave home
  • never let your dog onto the street to foul or roam unsupervised
  • respect dog-free areas and 'on lead' restrictions
  • Dog waste can be placed in all council litter bins

For more information contact the Neighbourhood Environment Team on 0300 013 3333.