The Head of Health and Community Wellbeing presented the above report, previously circulated to Members. The purpose of the report was for Members to consider the content of the report and approve the proposed Dog Control Enforcement Policy
Councillor P Kelly stated that dog fouling was a major issue throughout the city and district, however there was no information relating to the number of prosecutions made regarding dog fouling on the DAERA website and asked officers for the information.
In response, the Head of Health and Community Wellbeing stated that the report issued by DAERA related to dog control legislation whereas dog fouling related to Clean Neighbourhood Legislation. He further stated that he would provide the statistics requested.
Councillor Campbell concurred with the remarks made by the previous speaker. He stated that dog fouling was a major issue with constituents contacting their Elected Representatives on a regular basis to have the matter dealt with. He stated that Council had issued approximately 8,000 dog licences and that part of the problem was due to irresponsible dog owners who allowed their dogs to roam the streets and foul on the pavements and open spaces. He suggested implementing a campaign with community groups and distributing information on social media. He added that a lot of good work had been carried out by officers, however dog fouling remained a major issue throughout the council area.
Alderman McClintock concurred with the remarks made by the previous speakers. She referred to section 3.1 of the Dog Control Enforcement Policy, ‘In the case of a 1st and 2nd offence within a 12 month period’ and asked what action would be taken for subsequent offences. She further stated that the matter was not solely relating to stray animals as dogs on a lead with their owner were also responsible for dog fouling and that further action was needed regarding this.
In response, the Head of Health and Community Wellbeing stated that dog fouling was an ongoing issue within all council areas. He stated that improvements had been made as the number of stray dogs had been reduced. He outlined that enforcement related to a different piece of legislation and that it was his understanding that approximately five fixed penalties were issued in the last year in relation to dog fouling. He stated that identifying the perpetrators was a problematic issue as officers could not cover all areas at all times. He noted that mobile CCTV cameras had assisted in terms of promoting responsible dog ownership and was an area that Council would continue to improve on. He referred to Alderman McClintock’s query and stated that once a person went beyond that second offence it would be regarded as a recurrent offence and Council would consider prosecution at that stage.
Councillor P Kelly felt that Council should make more resources available to catch the dog owners allowing their dogs to foul to demonstrate that Council was taking a strong view on the matter.
Recommended that Members approve the Council’s Dog Control Enforcement Policy