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(Updated 28/03/01)

Council Cracks Down On Dog Foulers

Southampton is one of the first major cities to adopt the stringent new laws relating to littering and dog fouling. Following a big launch last August, the new initiative seems to have paid dividends, with littering and fouling noticeably reduced.

City Councillor Richard Williams, the Executive Member for Environment Transport said at the time: "The amount of rubbish and dog mess in our parks is horrific. We need to take action to make Southampton a cleaner and safer place. We are specifically targeting irresponsible citizens, and have had a huge amount of support form the community in this initiative."

Three uniformed officers are patrolling the city in a van marked with the departmental logo and use mountain bikes to gain access to parks and open spaces to be able to swoop down on offenders quickly. Fines of 25 will be issued for a first offence. But for a third offence, the individual will be taken to court with a potential fine of 1,000 for dog fouling and 2,500 for dropping litter. The City's Dog Warden also has the power to impose the penalties for dog fouling if they catch an irresponsible owner in the act.

The two-year pilot scheme has yielded good results in its first six months, backed by a city-wide advertising campaign. Dog Wardens and the Enforcement team have issued 90 fixed notices for dog fouling and littering offences.

Two dog owners have been prosecuted for failing to take their actions seriously.

On Friday, October 13, 2000, Adrian Cookson of Waterloo Road was walking his dog in a cemetery. He was spotted by a council officer allowing his dog to foul alongside a grave and failing to pick up after it. When challenged by the officer, Cookson simply walked away, but was traced via his car registration number plate. A fixed 25 fine was issued under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 but was ignored, which led to Cookson being summoned to appear in court. He failed to turn up and was found guilty in his absence and fined 200, plus 25 costs.

Friday October 13 also proved to be an unlucky day for Karen Hall when she was walking her GSD 'Major' at Riverside Park, Southampton.

In front of the Dog Warden's clearly marked van, the dog defecated and Hall made no attempt to clear up and dispose of the faeces. Although she admitted liability at the time, she gave a false address, but was traced through her car number plate.

A fixed 25 penalty was issued, which was ignored and Hall was summoned to appear in court. She was found guilty and fined 175, with 50 costs.