Dog fouling

Information about dog fouling in Barnsley and how to report it.

Each day dogs produce vast amounts of excrement. Some of this is left on footpaths, playing fields and other areas where it can end up on shoes and clothes. At worst, it can lead to blindness, usually in children, due to an infection called toxocara canis.

In 1999, Barnsley Council made an order to designate all of the borough under The Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996. It is an offence for a person in charge of a dog not to clean up immediately after their dog fouls any designated land. Designated land includes any land which is open to the air and to which the public have access. There are some exceptions, including land running alongside highways with a speed limit of more than 40mph, agricultural land and woodland.

As yet, no dog control orders, under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, have been made in Barnsley.

Eligibility

This process applies to everyone responsible for a dog and anyone who wishes to complain about dog fouling.

Procedure

The council undertakes proactive patrols in known "hot spots" to witness offences and respond to complaints about fouling, and uses publicity and education (such as signs, stencils and information postcards) to raise awareness. Formal action can only be taken if an offence is witnessed by one of our officers, or if a member of the public is willing to come forward with information and act as a witness to the offence.

You can also report incidents of dog fouling using our online form:

Charges/Fees

Offenders can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £50, or may be prosecuted in the magistrates' court. Failure to pay the fixed penalty fine may result in prosecution for the original offence. If prosecuted and found guilty this may result in magistrates imposing a fine of up to £1000, together with the Councils costs being awarded against the offender.

You can pay by debit or credit card.

How the customer can help

  • Don't walk your dog in areas where children play.
  • Train your dog to do his/her business at home. The Pet Advisory Committee suggest setting aside a designated area for your garden, using a command word before he/she goes to the toilet and praising him/her when finished. Then clear it up!
  • If your dog leaves your property, always take a "doggy poo bag", pooper scoop, nappy sack or plastic bag with you. Pick up its faeces (poo/mess) immediately, then either dispose of it in a designated dog bin provided by the council, or if unavailable, double wrap and dispose of in a normal litter bin or your own grey wheeled bin. If you don't clean up after your dog, you are risking a £50 fixed penalty notice or £1000 maximum penalty if referred to court, as well as being "named and shamed" in the local press if convicted. Not having any means of picking up or not being aware of the fouling is not an excuse in law for not picking up. If your dog strays without you and fouls, you are still responsible for the offence of not clearing its faeces immediately.
  • Worm your dog at least every six months with tablets obtainable from the vet, pet shop or larger branches of supermarkets. Puppies and pregnant bitches should be wormed more frequently - ask your vet for advice. Remember dogs with worm infections may not show any symptoms, so your dog should be wormed whether he/she looks healthy or not.
  • Cat owners can also help to reduce the likelihood of infections by worming their pets regularly and providing a litter tray. Cats can also be trained to use one area of the garden.

Leaflets

Leaflets on how to be a responsible dog owner, and 'Scoop the Poop, Clear up after your dog' are available free from Defra Publications on 0870 122 6236.

Response times / Next steps

We aim to respond to all complaints within five days of their receipt. If the report is a new or isolated incident, the information will be used to help build up a picture of where the problem "hotspots" are. Action can then include patrols and improved publicity in the area. Where offenders are identified informal letters or formal action can be taken. A statement may be requested to support any evidence. Offences that are witnessed result in legal action - fixed penalty notice and / or prosecution.

Out of hours procedure

There is no out of hours procedure for this service, although patrols to witness offences can take place at any time that problems are identified to be happening, including early morning and late evening. Covert CCTV cameras may also be deployed in "hotspot" areas.

Contact information

Community Safety and Enforcement Service
PO Box 634
Barnsley
S70 9GG

Phone: 01226 772468
Email: safer@barnsley.gov.uk

Additional notes

The dog population in Britain is estimated at around 6.8 million, producing around 900 tonnes of excrement per day.

Dog fouling is a major concern to many people, not just because of the mess it causes, but because it can be a health risk. Dogs may deposit roundworm eggs (toxocara canis) in their faeces, which become infectious after about three weeks, and can remain so for up to two years.

Anyone, but particularly children, can run the risk of picking up and swallowing the eggs. The eggs then hatch in the intestine, burrow through the intestine wall into the blood stream and pass into the body, before lodging behind the optic nerve in the eyes.

Possible symptoms of toxocaral infection range from aches, dizziness and nausea, to asthma and pneumonia - but as these symptoms can all be caused by other things, infections often go undiagnosed. In the UK there are around 100 cases of toxocariasis each year.

Useful contacts

Keep Britain Tidy
Elizabeth House,
The Pier,
Wigan.
WN3 4EX
01942 824620

RSPCA
Wiberforce Way,
Southwater,
Horsham.
RH13 7WN
0870 010 1181

Pet Advisory Committee
1 Deans Yard,
London.
SW1P 3NR
0207 799 9811

Dogs Trust
17 Wakley Street,
London.
EC1V 7LT
0207 837 0006

Kennel Club
1-5 Clarges Street
Piccadilly.
W1Y 8AB
0844 463 3980

Community Hygiene Concern
32 Crane Avenue,
Isleworth,
Middlesex.
TW7 7JL
0208 341 7167

Good Dog Campaign / Pet Health Council
4 Bedford Square
London.
WC1B 3RA
0207 255 1100

Frequently asked questions

I have a problem with dogs fouling on my garden, can the council take any action?

In these circumstances it is usually up to you as occupier to take civil action, but be aware that you must still keep your garden in a fit state. If, however, the dog is a stray, and you can restrain and secure it safely, the Dog Warden can collect it from your property.

Does dog fouling legislation cover all areas of land?

Fixed penalty notices, and possibly prosecution, can be issued for failing to clear up after a dog fouls. This applies to all land in Barnsley which is open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access (with or without payment), other than land comprised in or running alongside a highway with a speed limit of more than 40mph, agricultural land, woodland, marsh, moor or heath or common land. Other laws apply to dog fouling on private premises to which the public do not have access, which can result in formal action against the person responsible, owner or occupier of the land/property. Where designated land is privately owned, the owner/occupier can consent to allow the faeces to be left.

Are cats also a danger?

It is rare that cats are the cause of toxocariasis. Cats can also carry the eggs (toxocara cati), but because of their habit of burying their faeces in earth or sand rather than on grass, humans are less likely to pick up the eggs. Sandpits should be kept securely covered when not in use. Cats can cause toxoplasmosis, which is a different condition.

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