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Disgust over dearth of dog fouling fines
Just one prosecution has been made for dog fouling in the past two years despite hundreds of complaints.
Brighton and Hove City Council received 827 complaints from fed-up residents in 2012 and 2013 about pet owners who did not pick up their dogs’ mess.
But just one person was fined during that period – despite the authority having the power to issue £80 fixed penalty notices.
The council said its animal welfare team currently handles dog fouling complaints but prosecutions could only be brought if they were in the “right place at the right time”.
The figures have been dubbed “disgusting” by Hangleton and Knoll councillor Dawn Barnett, who suggested culprits are named and shamed in town halls.
She said: “A colleague suggested we should be testing the mess for DNA because in all honesty it is a dirty, disgusting mess. If the council employs a warden to fine people, and their wages are paid by the fines, I think it would help.
“Naming and shaming people with pictures in Hove Town Hall and in The Argus would also put people off.”
Councillor Graham Cox, who represents Westbourne ward, said: “In principal I would support the idea of a warden.
"I think it has got worse over the years, especially in winter when people think they won’t be seen under the cover of darkness.”
Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove, suggested last year that using private firms to enforce on-the-spot fines for dog fouling would be a deterrent and would raise much-needed revenue for councils.
Elsewhere Mid Sussex District Council fined only four people from 112 complaints, Eastbourne Borough Council fined one person from 472 complaints and Chichester District Council failed to hand out any fines at all from 349 complaints.
Worthing Borough Council received 157 complaints and issued only six fines for the two years. But the authority has recently started spray-painting the town’s pavements in dog-mess hotspots with yellowstencils instructing people to “pick it up”.
Hastings Borough Council handed out the most fixed penalty notices when it fined 51 people out of 57 complaints.
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “Successful prosecutions can only be brought if the offence has been witnessed by the enforcement officer – this relies on enforcement officers being in the right place at the right time to witness the offence – or if a witness to the offence is prepared to write a statement and appear in court.”