ALMOST 2,000 complaints about dog fouling have been made to Flintshire Council in the past five years – but there were only two successful prosecutions.
Between 2009 and 2013 the council received 1,942 complaints about the problem, but less than a dozen fixed penalty notices were handed out and only two people were prosecuted.
The details came to light following a Freedom of Information request by the Leader.
North Wales Police has the power to issue fixed penalty notices, but a spokesman said the legislation covering dog fouling penalties is enforceable by local authority authorised personnel, so they do not hold their own records.
Flintshire Council adopted the powers for enforcement of dog fouling on November 10, 2009.
Flintshire Council’s two prosecutions came in 2012 and 2013 and represent the only cases brought against residents for dog fouling in the past five years by the authority.
A total of 11 fixed penalty notices were handed out in the past five years – seven of which were dished out in 2013.
The year with the most complaints was in 2013, when 673 people raised the issue with the council – up on the 451 complaints in 2012 and 230 in 2011.
Delyn MP David Hanson said: “Dog fouling is a major problem raised with me and is a real concern for many people in Delyn.
“I know Flintshire Council has now established stronger enforcement and I would welcome those dog owners who allow their dogs to offend to be punished severely.
“Dog mess is a health hazard and as anti-social as graffiti or litter – any steps to prosecute and reduce offences will be welcomed by me. There is a reporting phone line and people should raise this on that helpline.”
Gary Downie, a former commercial banker from Broughton, set up StreetKleen, a company which removes dog dirt from pavements and turns it into biogas using anaerobic digestion.
He said: “An enforcement strategy needs to be underpinned by taking an initial education and engagement approach – using enforcement as a last resort.
“We think that there should be the re-introduction of the dog license.
“This new dog license should include a DNA makeup of the dog in question and be stored on a central database.
“In instances of dog fouling, a DNA sample of the offending mess could be taken and a stiffer fine could be issued retrospectively.
“At the end of the day reducing dog fouling and other environmental crime is important to our communities and essential to our wellbeing.
“Only collectively will we be able to provide lasting behavioural change and overcome this scourge.”
Flintshire Council has recently launched a ‘zero-tolerance approach’ to dog fouling, which was backed by Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami.
Speaking about the figures, Mr Tami said: “I think this is an issue which we need to take much more seriously.
“We are constantly having complaints raised with my office about this and inconsiderate dog owners need to realise the anti-social nature of it.”
Scott Rowley, interim environmental protection manager at Flintshire Council, said: “Flintshire Council is currently taking a zero-tolerance approach to all environmental crime, including dog fouling, with any offenders caught being issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £75.
“We have, over the course of the last few months, caught several people failing to clear up after their dogs and they have all been issued with FPNs, with one successful prosecution for non-payment resulting in a £495 fine being imposed.
“Our enforcement patrols are continuing throughout the county and we have seen an increase in reports of dog fouling following a successful campaign encouraging residents to report problem areas to the council in order for us to deploy officers to areas where they are most needed.
“Both the council and North Wales Police have enforcement powers and we work closely together in dealing with the problem of dog fouling in our local communities as a priority.
“The council introduced its first combined environmental enforcement policy in October 2013 which sets out our approach to all environmental issues we may encounter in the county.
“Requests for dog fouling to be cleared or intelligence given on people not clearing after their dogs can be made by calling 01352 701234.”