NEW powers to help deal with people who fail to control or clean up after their dogs have come into force across the Malvern Hills district.
Malvern Hills District Council has become the first authority in the county to introduce a Public Space Protection Order for Dog Control, which creates three new offences.
Those offences are: failing to carry a dog poop bag or other means to clean up after a dog, failure to keep a dog on a lead in a designated area and failure to keep a dog out of fenced off or enclosed children’s playgrounds.
The new powers, introduced under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, came into force at the start of last month.
Anyone committing one of the new offences will be given a fixed penalty notice of up to £100 and a £1,000 court fine if they fail to pay.
Signs are being put up at dog fouling hotspots across the district over the next couple of weeks to warn dog owners about the changes.
For the first three months officers will be issuing warnings instead of fines as part of efforts to educate people about the changes.
More than 550 people took part in a consultation on the plans which attracted overwhelming support from the public, the majority of which were dog owners.
Of those who responded, 82 per cent backed making it illegal to not carry a poop bag or another means to clean up after a pet, 88 per cent failing to stop dogs entering a fenced or enclosed children’s playground and 82 per cent failing to keep a dog on a lead in certain places.
The order will run for three years and then be reviewed. Guide dogs and people who are physically unable to comply with the requirements of the PSPO will be exempt from the new rule.
Coun Bronwen Behan, portfolio holder for environment on Malvern Hills District Council, said:“The introduction of these new powers was overwhelmingly supported by the public and sends a clear message to irresponsible dog owners that they must clean up after and control their pets.”
Dog fouling can be reported online at www.malvernhills.gov.uk/dog-fouling where the PSPO is also available to read in full.