Owners who allow their dog to foul in public open spaces “deserve a fine”, says leader of Wrexham Council
“Anybody who allows their dog to foul on a football pitch or in an area of public open space where children play deserve a fine,” the leader of Wrexham Council has said.
Councillor Mark Pritchard made the comments during an executive board debate on whether to extend a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to tackle dog fouling in the county borough.
The Order has been in place across the county borough since early 2017 and can be renewed every three years.
It requires owners to keep their dogs on a lead around visitor centres and car parks at local country parks – as well as picking up their dog’s mess from all public spaces in the county borough.
The Order also excludes dogs from bowling green playing surfaces, the playing areas of marked sports pitches and fenced children’s play areas, skate parks, tennis courts and multi-use games areas (apart from owners with assisted dogs).
Failure to follow the PSPO could lead to the owners receiving a fixed penalty notice (FPN).
Speaking at Tuesday’s (19 September) executive board meeting, Lead Member For Environment, Cllr Hugh Jones, said the renewal of the order will help to protect public spaces across Wrexham.
Cllr Jones said: “The evidence is that we need this Order in order to protect our public spaces, particularly those areas of recreation where there are children and also in attempt to ensure that our environment is kept as good for people to use as possible.
“As you can see, the Order really focuses on people with dogs having a responsibility.
“I can say as the owner of two dogs that I think it’s really important not only for the protection of the environment and for the community – but also for the dogs themselves, that dog owners behave and act in a responsible way.
“This legislation is effective is needed.”
Grosvenor Councillor Marc Jones questioned how many FPNs have been issued over the last three years, stating that residents had raised concerns to him over limited law enforcement officers.
Members were told that 29 tickets have been issued in the last three years.
Nine of those were for dog fouling and 20 for owners allowing their dogs into inappropriate places.
The lead member said: “We need to understand that the Order is there as a prevention and therefore the success of the Order is not necessarily judged by the number of tickets that are issued.
“It is there in the first place to be a prevention of people effectively breaking the Order.”
Leader of Wrexham Council, Cllr Mark Pritchard said if he could increase the fines, he would.
Cllr Pritchard said: “I want to turn this around on dog owners.
“We do have responsible dog owners but unfortunately in society, we have dog owners who are not responsible.
“Anybody who allows their dog to foul on a football pitch or in an area of public open space where children play, deserve a fine.
“I hope we catch more and if I could increase the fines, I would I can assure you. But it’s legislated so we can’t.
“There’s nothing worse then when toddlers and children are playing on a football pitch and the sliding dog muck and they have to go to the change room to get changed.
“That is because of irresponsible dog owners.
“My plea today is can dog owners take the responsibility and don’t allow dogs to foul in the areas mentioned in the report because it’s important and I feel strongly about that.”
Executive board members voted unanimously in favour of extending the PSPO for a further three years.
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