Council bosses declare war on irresponsible dog owners

The annual summertime ban on dogs on Seaton Carew Beach came into effect on may 1 and lasts until September 30. A man walks his dog on the beach on the first day of the ban.
The annual summertime ban on dogs on Seaton Carew Beach came into effect on may 1 and lasts until September 30. A man walks his dog on the beach on the first day of the ban.

A high profile campaign aimed at irresponsible dog owners is to be launched by council chiefs.

The initiative will seek to identify hot spot areas for the worst offenders and try to find ways to better clamp down on owners who do not clean up after their pets.

A publicity drive is to be spearheaded by Hartlepool Borough council to coincide with changes in legislation which will see several types of dog orders in force across town replaced with new umbrella Public Space Protection Orders.

There are currently five Dog Control Orders in place in certain locations across Hartlepool covering things like bans in certain areas and keeping dogs on leads.

There are also orders covering the whole of the town relating to cleaning up after dogs and one person not taking out any more than four dogs at one time.

Anyone found breaching any of the orders can be fined £80 on the spot.

Existing Dog Control Orders will automatically become Public Space Protection Orders in October.

In the run up to the changes, the council is to run a Responsible Dog Ownership Campaign.

As part of it, it will ask people if they have any ideas of how to boost council enforcement of dog fouling and nuisance.

A council report stated: “Consideration could also be given to enhancing enforcement powers in relation to dog fouling, which has been identified as a key element of the Council’s Clean and Green Strategy.”

More than 70% of people ranked public spaces being free from dog fouling as their second highest priority

The issue also featured highly in the council’s Your Say, Our Future consultation.

But the authority says reports about irresponsible owners are often too vague to be followed up and target its limited resources.

The responsible ownership campaign will include identifying and targeting hot spot areas, and installing new signs linked to Keep Britain Tidy’s high profile “Irresponsible Dog Owners We are Watching You” campaign.

Councillor Marjorie James, chair of the Neighbourhood Services Committee, said: “We have to have the public’s involvement in the campaign.

“It’s unfortunate that those people who have dogs that are caring and responsible get tarred with the wrong brush.”

Coun James said it was also important to work with schools to help get young people on board adding: “Dog fouling is a major issue across Hartlepool.”

The campaign received the unanimous backing of the committee.

Councillor Paul Beck added: “It’s imperative we get on top of this.”