Fines to make owners clean up their 'act'
DOG owners will face a £75 on-the-spot fine if they fail to clear up their pet's mess as a council looks to step up its enforcement powers.
And Newcastle Borough Council will also issue the fixed penalty to owners who breach a host of laws introduced to tackle dogs running free in public places.
The authority has launched an eight-week consultation to gauge the feeling of residents towards changing its approach to dealing with irresponsible pet owners.
Unlike most other councils, Newcastle does not hand out fixed penalities for dog offences.
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The authority preferrs to take court action, where magistrates can order owners to pay up to £1,000.
But officials now believe a system of issuing on-the-spot fines will simplify things.
The proposed new scheme would bring in fines for:
Failing to clear up dog mess in any public place;
Letting dogs off their leads in restricted areas;
Allowing their pets in dog-free zones;
Not putting their dog on a lead if requested to do so by a council warden.
Owners are currently required to keep their dogs on leads in areas such as sport pitches and public footpaths.
The pets are banned from children's play areas, school playing fields and game areas.
It is estimated up to 15,000 residents in the borough own a dog. David Beardmore, the council's team leader for environmental health, said: "I like to think we will never have to issue a fine.
"We are asking residents if they agree with what we are doing in certain places."
Both borough and parish councillors will also have the power to dish out fines if the measure is introduced.
The cash raised through the fines would be ploughed into improving services for dog owners.
Both Stoke-on-Trent and Cheshire East already issue fines of £50 with Stafford Borough handing out £75 notices and Staffordshire Moorlands charging £80.
Ann Beech, cabinet member for environment and recycling said: "We want these orders to work for the benefit of all our residents."
To take part in the consultation visit www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/dogcontrols .