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Harsher penalties for irresponsible dog owners on the horizon
7:00am Saturday 26th May 2012 in Devon
PEOPLE who let their dogs foul and misbehave in public could face harsher penalties after both Mid Devon District Council and Tiverton MP Neil Parish backed calls for tougher action on tackling irresponsible dog ownership.
The District Council is to start consulting on the possibility of introducing Dog Control Orders which would strengthen the powers available to tackle nuisance and fouling by dogs.
The new powers would allow the council to increase its on-the-spot fines from £50 to £80 for anyone caught leaving their dog’s mess on public footpaths.
The action comes after the council received a total of 206 complaints about fouling in 2011/12, compared with 145 in 2008/09.
Its proposals will be included in a month-long public consultation exercise which will start next month.
More immediate action is being taken by the council’s dog wardens, who are keen to set up a neighbourhood dog watch scheme to help dog fouling. Anyone who is interested in joining can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01884-244601.
The council is also encouraging dog owners to come forward and have their dogs microchipped for a subsidised cost of £5 at Tiverton Pannier Market on Wednesday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 13 or at the Blue Cross Centre near Bickleigh on Wednesday, June 20.
Meanwhile, Tiverton MP Neil Parish has joined Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, in calling for action on tackling irresponsible dog ownership at the charity’s annual House of Commons reception last week.
Mr Parish, who is also chairman of the Parliamentary Animal Welfare Group, said tackling anti-social dog behaviour in Devon had become a key issue for constituents.
He explained: “Incidences of anti-social behaviour involving dogs have been increasing in many local areas so I am delighted that Dogs Trust is proactively looking to tackle the issue by getting down to grass routes. While legislation has its part to play, outreach work in local communities is vital in order to engage dog owners and to help prevent dog attacks from occurring.”