Council told to get tough on fouling

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DEMANDS were today made to name and shame rogue owners after damning figures revealed the growing scourge of dog mess on the resort’s streets.

Despite hundreds of complaints being received about people allowing their dogs to soil resort pavements, barely any fines were handed out to owners who do not clean up after their animals.

The figures, obtained under a Freedom of Information request, showed 392 complaints about dog fouling were lodged with Blackpool Council in the first four months of the year – but only three fines were issued during that time. During the whole of 2011 only 557 complaints and 18 fines dished out while in 2010 39 fines were handed out after the council received 440 calls. But town hall chiefs today said they had now toughened up measures to deal with the offences.

Between June 1 and August 9, 13 penalty notices have been issued and tougher enforcement powers have been given to more council workers.

Cabinet member Coun Ivan Taylor said: “This April, we completed the training of around 150 more staff, both from the council and the police, who are now able to confront people who are caught not cleaning up after their dogs and issue the culprits with fixed penalty notices.

“We hope to increase this even further in the near future. In the period since this training was completed, officers have been out into the community regularly.

“Most people, when asked to see their bags, have been able to produce them, and the ones who haven’t have, if necessary, been issued with fixed penalty notices. We are strongly committed to making our streets cleaner and have made it easier for people to clean up after their dogs.”

Dog fouling was one of the main issues Labour pledged to tackle when it came to power at the 2011 local elections.

And Tory councillor Paul Galley said it remained one of the most controversial issues in the town.

He added: “It is one of the top three complaints I receive from constituents, particularly in relation to the parks.

“Only this week we had a meeting of the Friends of Eastpines Park and it was a main topic for discussion.

“The majority of dog owners do pick up, but others don’t and the consequences for health, particularly for children, can be horrendous.

“What I would like to see happen is for the council to highlight the worst areas and target the irresponsible dog owners in these areas.

“Then those who are fined should be named and shamed.”

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Mary Naylor, community advocate for Marton, said some of the tactics used by the council were ineffective.

She added: “The council has installed dispensers in some areas where people can get free bags but they are a waste of time.

“If you have got a dog you take responsibility yourself.

“I have heard of people who have got warnings for allowing their dogs to foul but have not been fined. Why are they not fined straight away?”

Immediately following the 2011 elections, council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said the new administration would tackle dog fouling.

He said at the time: “If you listen to people on the doorstep, you hear their concerns are the bread and butter issues – dog dirt, litter, the cost of senior council officers, and asking why so many roads are closed.”

Dog walkers at Stanley Park today agreed fouling was a problem.

Rosemary Hardy, from Great Eccleston, said: “I very rarely see people not picking up but it is a problem.

“It’s a difficult one because people always say they pick up after their dogs, even when they don’t.”

Jean Eastham, 69, from Thornton, added: “It’s disgusting. I always take dog bags in my handbag. It’s not nice when children are playing nearby.

“I think the council should put more signs up and we need more bins too.”

Henry Tonks, 64, of Hornby Road, Blackpool, who was walking his two dogs, Dylan and Shadow, said: “I’m up here nearly enough every day and it is a problem.

“There’s more than enough bins bit it’s just the people themselves who aren’t picking up.”

Rob McDonald, 44, from St Annes, who was walking his dog with daughter Lauren and nephew Ben Staveley, both nine, added: “You do see it, not in the public areas but if you go further round there are bits all over the place.

“There’s no excuse for those who don’t pick up.”

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