Doncaster: Record fines for dog fouling

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DONCASTER has seen record numbers of fines dished out to irresponsible dog owners - who failed to clean up after their animals fouled the borough’s pavements.

Figures obtained by The Star reveal 110 fixed penalty notices have been issued by Doncaster Council’s communities service and enforcement service so far - and the figures do not yet represent a full year.

They relate to August 2011, when the service took on its present form, to this month.

Figures previously released for 2010-11 had shown 102 fines over the full year. The previous year saw only 28.

The number is believed to be the highest in Yorkshire, and is revealed after The Star raised dog fouling as an issue.

Officials say they would prefer to educate people into clearing up after their pets than give out fines. But, in some cases, officials have followed dog owners home after seeing pets fouling the streets.

Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Coun Cynthia Ransome, says owners failing to clean up their pets’ faeces is a matter of concern.

She said: “The reason it is a big problem is that we get a lot of complaints about this. It is something that very much annoys people when they are on a leisurely walk. There is nothing worse than standing in it, getting it on shoes, and then possibly getting it on carpets.

“It is also about laziness on the part of dog owners because it is people who are shirking their responsibilities. If you have an animal it is your responsibility to clear up after it.

“I think people do it because they think they can get away with it because they think no-one is looking.

“We have a record high number for fines, and it is the highest in the Yorkshire and the Humber.”

A number of measures have been carried out in the borough recently to try to draw attention to the problem.

Staff working in a park in Askern brought small flags out to pin next to every patch of dog faeces they saw.

And pupils at Copley Primary School in Sprotbrough drew posters to highlight problems the school has been suffering with dogs fouling its playing fields.

Coun Ransome said the authority also received complaints about dogs fouling football pitches.

She added: “We get families with young children complaining about it when their children are running in the grass. The people who complain love where they live and want a nice clean environment.”

Figures revealed in The Star in April showed the streets in Doncaster which had the largest numbers of complaints over dog fouling.

Springwell Lane topped the table with 22 complaints, ahead of Harlington Road, Mexborough, with 17, and West End Road in Norton and Woodlands Road, Woodlands, with 14 each.

Shoppers in Doncaster town centre are keen to see action taken to clamp down on the problem.

Suan Armstrong, aged 65, of Cantley, said the pavements and green areas near where she lived were affected by the problem. She said: “A lot of people pick it up but some don’t. You see too much of it.”

Michael Lewandowski, 26, of Wheatley Hills, said: “I think it’s important that they take a hard line.”

And Sarah Martin, 40, of Rossington said: “I think dog fouling is a problem everywhere you walk and it’s definitely important that it is cleaned up.”