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Rhondda Cynon Taf Dog Owners FINED over £1800

FIVE irresponsible dog owners have been fined a combined £1800 for failing to adhere to the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which was agreed by Cabinet a year ago this month.

The owners received the fines for failing to clean up after their dogs and/or walking their dogs on marked sports pitches.

The ‘offences’ took place in hot spots across our County Borough, including The Ynys Fields, Llanharan Fields, Beddau and Treaman Fields.

One owner took the time to bag his dog’s waste, but left the full bag at the side of a sports pitch – if he’d simply taken the time to put it in the nearby dog waste bin, he would have saved himself a fine of £350.

Another fellow owner left her dog roam the streets, where it was free to foul anywhere. The dog was caught in the act by a patrolling enforcement officer and followed home to his owner, who has now received a £410 fine.

Three other residents were fined a collective £1050 for either walking their dogs on marked sports pitches or allowing their pets to run free on the sporting areas.

Since October 2017, when the new rules were introduced to tackle irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up their dogs’ mess – over 200 fixed penalty notices have now been issued.

One of the key concerns the PSPO addressed was dog fouling on sports fields, which is not only disgusting and inconvenient, it is also a serious health risk.

Rugby player Collin Smith, who helped to launch the campaign, was forced to have his leg amputated aged just 15 after contracting an infection from dogs’ mess that was left on the playing field.

As part of the new harder hitting rules the Council’s Streetcare enforcement team has stepped up patrols across the County Borough, including hotspots reported via the Council’s social media accounts and through the Customer Care call centre in a bid to raise awareness, catch those responsible red handed and clean up our towns and villages.

But despite handing out over 2 million FREE dog poo bags every year from our collection points and installing hundreds of new dog waste bins across the County Borough  – as these latest convictions show, there are still some who are failing to clean up after their dogs when they foul on the streets of Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The message is clear from the Council – if an irresponsible dog owner is found breaching the rules of the PSPO we will take action and issue a £100 fine. Failure to pay this, could lead to court action being taken, a large fine, a criminal record and your identity publicised on the Council’s website and Social Media channels.

The awareness campaign “Sort **IT Out” was launched alongside the new rules being introduced and highlights the dangers of dog fouling being left on the streets/parks/sports pitches.

The campaign also raises awareness of the new rules and the work carried out by the Council’s enforcement officers.

The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which was introduced on October 1, 2017, stated that:

  • Dog owners MUST clean up their dogs’ mess immediately and dispose of it properly.
  • Dog owners MUST carry means to pick up dog mess (for example, bags) at all times.
  • Dog owners MUST follow a direction from an authorised officer to put a dog on a lead.
  • Dogs are BANNED from all schools, children’s play areas and marked sports pitches maintained by the Council.
  • Dogs MUST be kept on a lead at all times in Council-maintained cemeteries.

A separate PSPO for dog controls at Aberdare Park only was also introduced on October 1, 2017, stating that dogs must be kept on leads at all times.

Irresponsible dog owners who fail to follow the new rules will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 – as those who have been fined have discovered.

Nigel Wheeler, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Director of Highways and Streetcare Services, said: “The latest convictions demonstrate the Council’s commitment to tackling dog fouling issues – if an irresponsible dog owner is found breaching the rules of the PSPO we will take action and issue a £100 fine. Failure to pay this, could lead to court action being taken, a large fine and a criminal record, as these FIVE irresponsible dog owners have now found out.

“The new rules were introduced after residents told the Council they wanted to see action taken to tackle irresponsible dog owners – including areas such as play areas used by children and marked pitches where residents enjoy playing sports.

“Over 200 fines have now been issued to dog owners who continue to ignore the Council’s message by breaking new rules brought in to keep our County Borough clean, for the benefit of residents and visitors. There is no excuse for not picking up after your dog, or walking them in prohibited areas.

“The Council would rather see a clean County Borough and dog walkers acting responsibly rather than issue fines – which could have easily been avoided if people had simply acted responsibly and followed the rules.

“The number of fines issued and the latest court cases shows that we are continuing to take a tough stance on this issue, while the Council will continue to patrol the areas and also install dozens more red dog mess bins this year to further encourage responsible dog ownership.”

All the revenue generated from the FPNs is invested back in frontline services to further improve our County Borough and respond to the priority issues our residents have identified.

For more information on the new dog fouling rules in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and the Council’s Sort **IT Out! campaign, visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/sortitout.

Find out where you can and can’t walk your dog in Rhondda Cynon Taf – www.rctcbc.gov.uk/walkmydog