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East Lancashire councils to get tough on dog fouling
7:00pm Tuesday 31st December 2013 in News
FOUR councils in East Lancashire have vowed to improve after failing to crack down on persistent dog fouling.
Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn, Rossendale, and Ribble Valley Councils handed out just 39 fixed penalty notices between them last year.
In stark contrast, Burnley Council handed out more than 200, reveal figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.
A senior councillor at Blackburn with Darwen Council has pledged to get tough on dog fouling in light of the new figures.
The council issued 19 fines in 2012/13, compared to just six the year before.
Executive member for environment, Coun Jim Smith, said: “I don’t know why it’s so low because I only took over in April.
“The figures will be higher next year.
“I don’t think so. I know for sure.
“The reality is if your dog fouls in the street and you don’t pick it up, you deserve to be fined.
“One of the biggest complaints I get is dog fouling, and it’s disgusting.”
Coun Smith said he plans to use Police Community Support Officers to issue fixed penalty notices in Blackburn, a tactic recently introduced in Hynd-burn, where the council handed out eight fines last year.
Deputy leader of Hyndburn Council, Coun Clare Pritchard, said: “It’s very difficult to catch somebody in the act.
“If it is a neighbour who is letting their dog out at the same time every night, tell us and we can act.
“We only have the facilities for one dog warden, but a couple have been given out by PCSOs recently, and we are hoping that takes off.”
Burnley Council handed out 201 fixed penalty notices in 2012/13, and will continue to make tackling dog fouling a top priority in 2014, according to a senior councillor.
Coun Tony Harrison, exec-utive member for community services, said: “When we came into power, we made it a priority.
“We increased the number of dog wardens by one, and we have a good system that works.
“We have done public awaren- ess days with the dog wardens and rangers, and there are a lot of responsible dog owners who are quick to report problems and it’s having a deterrent eff-ect.”
Coun Harrison said the council was encouraging people to report dog fouling online, and had given away tablet comp-uters as an incentive to sign up.
He added: “I’m very pleased our staff have made this a pr-iority.”
Ribble Valley and Rossendale Councils hand out an average of six tickets a year, it was revealed.
A spokesman for Ribble Vall-ey Borough Council said the figures did not ‘reflect the significant number of informal warning letters sent, where witnesses were not prepared to give statements about neigh-bours’. Figures for Pendle Borough Council were not available.
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