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Updated 19/01/2001

Dirty dogs to be snapped in the act

VILLAGERS IN a Yorkshire village are being given free disposable cameras to capture evidence of owners who allow their dogs to foul public footpaths.

Cullingworth Parish Council has pledged to use any such photographs in prosecutions against offending dog owners in a move to get Bradford City Council’s anti-fouling byelaws to bite in the village.

Parish Councillor Ken Batchelor declared. “it’s time we got tougher on people who allow their dogs to foil on the streets. We get a lot of complaints about the problem and it’s obvious how bad it is when you walk around the village.

“We are prepared to pay for the disposable cameras if people are prepared to take the pictures. We need evidence so that action can be taken. The photograph would be proof and we would expect a prosecution.”
According to a local newspaper report, disposable cameras were available from the local pharmacy and cost between £5 and £8, some of which had a built-in flash and could take a minimum of 24 photographs.

OUR DOGS spoke to Mr Batchelor and asked whether some people might take abuse the generosity of the Parish Council and merely buy the cameras for their own purposes.

“I don’t think that would be the case at all,” said Mr Batchelor, “We are a very respectable community and people just wouldn’t do that. Besides, the cameras don’t cost as much that.”

Following on from comments made by fellow Parish Councillor John Brigg that the council would hope that police would launch prosecutions against offenders from photographic evidence revealed, Mr Batchelor was asked how such a prosecution could take place.

“We would identify the offenders from the photographs as local people,” he said. “But it would hopefully not come to a prosecution - we might shame them with the evidence beforehand.”

Mr Batchelor was reluctant to reveal how the ‘shaming’ would take place and whether it would be private or public.

“I don’t have a dog of my own, but I do like dogs and my son has three Labradors, all working gundogs,” he said. “I accept that the majority of dog owners are responsible and clear up after their dogs, but we are going after the minority who simply don’t seem to care.”

A Bradford City Council spokesman said that the Council’s rangers and park wardens had the power to issue £25 penalty notices to people who allow their dogs to foul highway verges, recreation areas and parks and fail to pick up after their dogs.

“Since the byelaws came into effect three years ago, around 350 tickets have been issued,” he said.
The majority of fines were paid, but ten people had been successfully prosecuted by magistrates for failing to pay the fines. A further six cases are pending at this time.

A police spokesman said that police could issue a summons or could alternatively warn the offender.

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