Hartlepool dog owners face £100 fines for not carrying clean up bags
Dog owners in Hartlepool could be issued a £100 fine if they are found not to be carrying bags to clean up their pet’s waste.
Councillors have brought in four new enforcement orders covering dog owners in a bid to “respect the area”.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s neighbourhood services committee heard these include:
*Designated officers being given powers to check dog walkers are carrying bags to pick up their dog’s mess and to issue fines where they are unable to do so.
*An ‘all dogs on leads order’ for North Cemetery, bringing it in line with other cemeteries in the borough.
*Restricting lead length to a maximum of 1.5 metres in all Hartlepool cemeteries.
*Extending the existing dog exclusion order at the former paddling pool on the seafront at Seaton to include the new water play park.
Breaching any of the orders is punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £100.
If they refuse to pay they can be taken to magistrates’ court and fined up to £1,000.
The move follows a public consultation last year looking at bringing in new enforcement orders with over 700 responses to the council.
The consultation found 78.55% of people wanted the dogs on lead order for North Cemetery, while 60.19% agreed lead length should be restricted to 1.5 metres in cemeteries.
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Coun Allan Barclay said: “At the end of the day the more I look going through this town we’ve got to do something about the dog waste. It’s absolutely crazy. I’m all for the new orders.”
Coun Ann Marshall said: “We’re not getting at all dog owners, because quite a lot of us are responsible, we’re just getting at those irresponsible ones.”
The council will launch a communications campaign to raise awareness of the orders and places where dogs can be freely exercised.
Councillors also said it was important people are reminded they can put dog waste in ordinary bins as long as it is bagged.
Council bosses added they have recently installed over 40 dog waste bag dispensers in 29 public spaces, where bags can be obtained free of charge.
Responsibility for the enforcement of the rules sits with Hartlepool Community Safety Team, made up of police and council officers.
Concerns were raised about the impact the enforcement orders in North Cemetery could have on elderly dog walkers but councillors urged it was about respecting cemeteries and reiterated dogs were still allowed in on leads.
Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “This approach has balance because you realise people do want to take dogs into cemeteries and it’s part of people’s grieving process in some cases.
“This policy is about controlling this and remembering it is still a cemetery and to be respectful, cemeteries should be a place where behaviour is very different.”
Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service