Liverpool City Council is looking to rein in dog owners who let their pets foul in public places – and then don’t bin it.
The council has launched a month-long consultation on a plan to introduce a city-wide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that will see owners fined for failing to bag and dispose of dog mess.
The draft proposal comes in response to the council receiving 1,865 complaints regarding dog fouling between January 2020 to January 2022.
Any person falling foul of the proposed new order would be committing an offence punishable by an on-the-spot £80 fine – which could rise to £1,000 if the offence went to court.
People can read the draft PSPO at https://liverpool.gov.uk/council/consultation-and-engagement/consultation/consultation-on-a-dog-control-public-spaces-protection-order-pspo/ and have until 1 August to give their feedback.
The draft PSPO would form a key part of a new 12-month environment action programme which the city council is developing as a result of its new partnership with Keep Britain Tidy And it comes just weeks after the council announced a plan to tackle litter by installing a network of 140 subterranean super-bins.
If approved, this new PSPO would also make it a requirement for dogs to be kept on leads in certain parts of the city, such as around park lakes and children’s play areas, and authorised officers would have the right to ask owners to put dogs on leads if they were found to be flouting the rules.
Liverpool City Council has dealt with 41 complaints of dog incidents in play areas over the last two years and received eight complaints of damage and dog fouling to play equipment caused by dogs. In 2021 a play area was so badly contaminated with dog fouling that it had to be shut for a deep clean.
The council is also proposing that dogs are excluded from fully enclosed maintained sports areas such as football and rugby pitches, bowling greens and tennis courts. This will also include fully enclosed sports areas commonly known as multiactivity areas. Certain people would be exempt from the order such as those using disability dogs.
The draft PSPO is being proposed to tackle the detrimental impact on the quality of life for people using public places. Dog faeces is a public health issue and can cause Toxocariasis, a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites. The parasites are more likely to affect young children as they are most likely to come into contact with it
In addition to tackling dog fouling, Merseyside Police has also recorded 570 crimes in relation to dogs that have been dangerously out of control across the city in the past three years, demonstrating the importance of safe spaces for people and children to play and exercise.
Dogs are currently excluded from a large proportion of play areas, sports pitches and walled gardens, under the 1994 Control of Dogs Byelaws. However, this does not permit the issuing of a fixed penalty notice. The new PSPO would mean Council Enforcement Officers, Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers would be able to issue fixed penalties as an alternative to a court summons.
These officers will also be trained and authorised to demand that dogs be also placed on leads. The new legislation would apply to the whole of Liverpool, including streets, parks and open spaces.
During the last two years Liverpool City Council has also received 119 complaints of dogs off leads causing annoyance in cemeteries. The council has listened carefully to the feedback from dog walkers in the area and it has been decided that dogs will now be permitted into cemeteries, but must be on a lead.
How to respond:
The draft Public Spaces Protection Order is available to read on request via Michael Edgar, on 0151 233 0471 or by email to email@example.com and also available to view at, Liverpool City Council, Legal Services, Cunard Building, Water Street, Liverpool L3 1DH
Representations should be received on or by 1st August 2022 and posted to: Michael Edgar, Legal Services, Liverpool City Council, 5th Floor, Cunard Buildings, Water Street, Liverpool L3 1AH, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The results of the consultation will be reported to the council’s Highways and Public Spaces Representation Committee which will decide whether to proceed with the proposed order.
Councillor Abdul Qadir, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said, “The vast majority of owners follow the rules about picking up and binning dog mess. Unfortunately, there has been a spike in complaints in recent years and we need to take action as its having a real impact on people’s enjoyment of our public parks and spaces.
“The council has invested millions of pounds in upgrading our play areas in recent years and we need to ensure they are kept as clean and tidy as possible for families and their children to enjoy. The pandemic has underlined how important our green spaces are to our physical and mental health and we’re listening on how we can improve the experience of these important places.
“Dogs not on leads in public spaces has also become a concern, as our colleagues in Merseyside Police can testify and we’ve had too many reports of deaths to wildlife in our parks to just sit here and do nothing.
“This new draft PSPO provides clarity on what is and what is not permissible and provides the tools to take swift action to penalise those who flout the rules.
“I am sure responsible dog owners will welcome these proposals and I hope as many people as possible give their feedback to ensure these new regulations are targeting the right areas.”