Fines Threatened To Make Dog Owners Think Twice About Dog Mess

New Dog Order Controls come into force from tomorrow (19 October)​. ​ It will be an offence not to pick up dog mess from all land in Central Bedfordshire which the public can access, rather than just in towns and villages.

Anyone in charge of a dog will be offending if they:

 Fail to remove dog mess on any open land in Central Bedfordshire.

  • ​ ​Allow ​a dog off a lead on any land to which a ‘dogs on leads’ order is in place – laws already apply to A and B roads and adjoining footpaths and verges, but are being extended to cover cemeteries, marked sports pitches, and the car parks of some country parks.
  •  Fail to put it on a lead when ordered to do so by an authorised council officer, dog warden, site manager or park ranger, if the dog is not under proper control and is causing a nuisance to others.
  •  Allow their animal to enter or remain in an area from which dogs are excluded, such as enclosed children’s playgrounds and multi-use games areas.
Anyone who fails to do so faces a fixed penalty notice of £80 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days) – or a fine of up to £1,000 if prosecuted.

Independent town councillor, Alan Winter, is among those broadly welcoming the news, "In a way it is good news. I actually hope that people with dogs will act responsibly, and that no one needs to get fined. But the reality check, will be to see if anything actually changes. If there are no staff to enforce it, or even staff with the will to enforce it, it will become just another regulation that will get ignored."

Following the Council's consultation process, the council received 529 responses via an online questionnaire – with two-thirds of respondents identifying themselves as dog owners.

Of these, 88% agreed that it should be an offence not to remove dog mess, 66 per cent backed proposals to exclude dogs from playgrounds, multi-use games areas and certain countryside sites, 57 per cent said that dogs should be kept on leads in certain areas, and 68 per cent supported the order that people should put their dog on a lead when told to do so in controlled areas.

Cllr Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “These orders are designed to improve public health by reducing levels of potentially harmful dog waste and encouraging more people who may previously have been put off using our parks and countryside to take more exercise.

“Owning or walking a dog is a great incentive to get outside and exercise right through the year, and we hope that these new orders will encourage all residents to do just that.” 

* Stepping in dog poop - Karen Arnold
* Dog picture: unknown author