Shining the Spotlight on Irresponsible Dog Owners

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is continuing to put the spotlight on irresponsible dog owners and over 185 owners have been given a £100 Fixed penalty Notice to walk home with!

The message from the Council is clear – if an irresponsible dog owner is found breaching the rules of the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) by an Enforcement Officer, the Council will take action and issue a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).

In October 2017 the Council was one of the first Local Authorities to introduce strict rules in terms of dog controls when it put in place a PSPO. Due to the success of this order, it was extended in November 2020 to continue to tackle this disgusting and unsightly issue.

The PSPO measures include:

  • Dog owners MUST clean up their dogs’ mess immediately and dispose of it properly.
  • Dog owners MUST carry means to pick up dog mess (i.e. bags) at all times.
  • Dog owners MUST follow a direction from an authorised officer to put a dog on a lead.
  • Dogs are BANNED from all schools, children’s play areas, and marked sports pitches maintained by the Council.
  • Dogs MUST be kept on a lead at all times in Council maintained cemeteries.

One of the key concerns the PSPO addressed was dog fouling on sports fields – even if the fouling is picked up, remnants of it will remain on the grass and soil, which is not only disgusting but could also have serious life-changing health consequences.

In a bid to raise awareness and make irresponsible dog owners ‘SIT’ up and take notice, TWO simple messages have been stenciled in key locations across Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The messages are simple ‘NO DOG FOULING’ and ‘NO DOGS ON PITCHES’ and are part of the overall campaign to take action to crack down on those who ignore the rules set out in the PSPO, in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Some irresponsible dog owners decide not to pay the initial £100 FPN and face court action being taken – ultimately ending up with some very costly walkies, as the below offenders have discovered. Their details could also be publicised on the Council’s website and Social Media channels.

In December three people were sent to court for their actions, these include:

A woman allowing her dog to foul in her own community, close to her home – practically on her doorstep in Rhydyfelin! This walk cost her £194! Almost double the initial fine.

A man from Aberdare, allowed his dog to roam free on the restricted area at the Ynys Recreation Grounds. This led to a £300 bill!

A man from Pontypridd, allowed his dog to go into a restricted area in the popular Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd – he was sent home with his tail between his legs and a fine of £374!

All of these could have been avoided if they had followed the rules that are set out under the PSPO for the safety of the public.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure & Heritage Services, said:

“It is hoped that these messages will act as a reminder to clean up after your dog. We have lots of responsible dog owners across RCT and we know that they won’t need any reminding – but there are still a few out there that may need a gentle, clear reminder to bag it and bin it and to not let their dogs walk on pitches.

“The latest convictions once again demonstrate the Council’s commitment to tackling dog fouling issues – if an irresponsible dog owner ignores these messages and is found breaching the rules of the PSPO we will take action and issue a £100 fine. Failure to pay this could lead to court action being taken, a large fine, and a criminal record, as these irresponsible dog owners have now found out.

“The PSPO rules were introduced after residents told the Council they wanted to see action taken to tackle irresponsible dog owners – including areas such as play areas used by children and marked pitches where residents enjoy playing sports.

“The Council would rather see a clean County Borough and dog walkers acting responsibly rather than issue fines – which could have easily been avoided if we follow the clear messages, follow the rules, and act responsibly – they are there to protect everyone who wants to enjoy our beautiful County Borough.”

In the last year the Council has issued over 1030 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to those who have been caught littering, fly-tipping, breaking the PSPO, and failing to control their waste in Rhondda Cynon Taf. All the revenue generated from the FPNs is invested back in frontline services to further improve our County Borough and respond to the priority issues our residents have identified.

 

Gwynoro Jones

Former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones joined the team covering politics in Wales. He has a wealth of experience in politics and has been a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspapers in Wales. Email: gwynorojones@walesnewsonline.com
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