Dog owners in fine discount scrap

Councillor Eric Bell promoting the 'Don't be a dirty dog' campaign

Councillor Eric Bell promoting the 'Don't be a dirty dog' campaign

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Discounts for dirty dog owners who pay fines early will be scrapped in a shake-up of how Chorley deals with dog fouling.

People who are spotted letting their dog foul and not clearing it up are currently handed a £75 fixed penalty notice and given a reduction of £25 if they pay within 10 days.

But Chorley Council say they plan to scrap this discount, and will also be writing to the Government to ask that the cap on fines be scrapped, so they can charge whatever they like.

Coun Eric Bell, who oversees animal welfare at the authority, said: “Residents are telling us that dog fouling is one of their biggest concerns so we have pledged to take a tough stance on this over the coming year.

“The first step will be to scrap the reduction for people who pay early.

“We think this is right because the fines are totally avoidable in the first place if you are responsible and clean up after your pet.

“We also think that the council should have more control over how much the fixed penalty notice should cost people, so I’m writing to Government minister Eric Pickles to request that the cap be lifted so we can impose greater fines.”

The council have committed to spending £345,000 to tackle grot spots and dog fouling in their budget and a new campaign will be launched in the coming months.

This will include creating a rapid response team to remove dog mess, a reward scheme for people who report irresponsible dog owners, and compulsory education for first-time offenders.

Coun Bell said: “The main thing we’re asking is for people to be responsible, carry poop bags with them and clear up after their pet.

“The vast majority of dog owners do this but the minority are spoiling it for everyone else – not only can the dog mess be harmful to people’s health, it’s horrible if you tread in it and end up walking into your home with it.

“We also want residents to be our eyes and ears.

If you do see someone who lets their dog foul and doesn’t clean it up, take a description and report it directly to the council on 01257 515151 so we can try and do something about it.”