Call for tougher action after only five fines issued for dog fouling in Sunderland last year
Sunderland's Conservative party has called for a 'tougher approach' towards dog fouling after figures revealed only five fines were given out in the last year.
Between June 2017 and June 2018, Sunderland City Council served five fixed penalty notices and sent 81 warning letters for dog fouling offences.
Now, the council’s Conservative group have called for more fines to be given out, citing the environmental impact of dog fouling on Sunderland residents.
Group leader Coun Robert Oliver said: “Residents consistently say that the cleanliness of the city is their top concern, and many complain about the irresponsible minority who do not clean up after their dogs.
“As well as spoiling the environment around people’s homes, dog fouling is a health risk which can potentially cause blindness so children playing in the streets could be at risk.”
A person breaching a dog control order – which includes dog fouling – could face a fixed penalty of £80, which is reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days.
If the case is taken to court, offenders could face a maximum fine of £1,000 upon conviction.
Coun Oliver added: “In the last council year only five fines have been handed out for dog fouling, and 81 people have got off with a warning who could be fined if a tougher approach is taken.
“The council has spent £1.5million on more enforcement officers – and with a rise in the number of fines for littering - it is now time to give out more fines for dog fouling too.”
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
In December, the Echo launched its Clean Streets campaign, urging Wearsiders to play their part in making the city smarter.
It followed our Big City survey, when 66 per cent of readers said they felt cleanliness of our public places is poor or very poor.
In Sunderland Council’s latest budget, an extra £1.5million was announced to support frontline environmental services such as cleaning, recycling collections and boosting enforcement powers to prosecute fly-tippers.
Coun Amy Wilson, cabinet member for environment and transport, added the council is tackling the issue with a mixture of education, awareness and enforcement.
“This (£1.5million) investment was opposed by local Conservatives, who voted against it in the budget meeting earlier this year,” she said.
“Plus, it is an investment that is being made despite the Government’s austerity programme, that continues to squeeze all council budgets.
“Council staff speak with dog walkers to discuss issues, to educate them or take action against the irresponsible and anti-social owners who ignore their community responsibility to clean up after their pets.
“While the council believes people should have an opportunity to improve their behaviour, and in the last four years more than 400 warning letters have been sent to householders about dog fouling, the council is stepping up its enforcement.”
Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporting Service