GWYNEDD councillors are “astounded” after two dog warden jobs failed to attract a single sniff of interest.

The council roles had been advertised “numerous times” but not one application was received, a full meeting of Gwynedd Council heard on Thursday (June 23).

The gathering revealed that the council has been struggling to recruit, in line with the private sector, following the pandemic.

The information came to light following a question by Harlech and Llanbedr Cllr Gwynfor Owen.

The Plaid Cymru councillor had asked how many owners had received fixed penalty notices for allowing their dogs in banned areas of Meirionnydd beaches since the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order was launched on July 22, 2021.

Answering, as cabinet member for highways and municipal, Cllr Berwyn Parry Jones, explained that “no fixed penalties” had been issued since the scheme started, and that filling council posts had been a problem.

He said: “We intend to increase the number of maritime staff, because there are now a number of shortages due to retirement and moving jobs.

“We received funding to appoint two dog wardens, we advertised on occasions, but have had no applicants as yet.

“Filling jobs is a problem in the council, and in the private sector, at the moment.”

He added that giving fixed penalties to the public who flouted rules was the “last resort”, and that the council intended to “educate dog owners.”

The job descriptions had been “amended” to “reflect the role of changing attitudes” and “in the hope these jobs will be filled soon,” he said.

Cllr Owen replied saying “That was the response I was expecting, really.

“I am sure the cabinet member will agree, the public won’t see much change since the consultation, but it seems the department has tried to do something.

“The response that there was no applicants, I’m sure is astounding to all of us.”

He added: “In a civil service conference this week, I learn there is a huge reduction in the workforce compared to last last year, it’s a dire situation in terms of attracting employees.”

He asked the cabinet member to “strive” to add the beaches at Llandanwg and Harlech to the list of places given “feather flags”, and to prioritise the beaches “when the necessary officers are employed”.

Cllr Parry Jones replied by saying that as a keen runner, he knew well the beaches of Harlech and Llandanwg as “not only beautiful but long”, and said he would ask the department that feather flags and wardens, once they were employed, would be in the area “as a priority”.

A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, we have struggled to fill the post of dog control officer, despite advertising it through our usual channels.

“We would emphasise that the job focuses on working with local communities to raise awareness of responsible dog ownership and to educate people on what is deemed to be appropriate behaviour when exercising a dog in public places.

Anyone who is interested in the post can find out more on the council website gwynedd.llyw.cymru/jobs”

 

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