Readers wary of new rules to combat problem dog owners

Irresponsible dog owners face more restrictions in South Tyneside
Irresponsible dog owners face more restrictions in South Tyneside

Dog walkers in South Tyneside have backed heavier fines for owners who don’t clean up their pet’s mess – have but cried foul over who will enforce it.

They say an increase in penalties – from £80 to £100, and introduced this month – could turn the tide on irresponsible owners.

But there may be too few enforcement officers to monitor those who flout the law, according to readers on the Gazette’s Facebook social media page.

The clampdown is due to a change in law whereby existing Dog Control Orders have been transferred under the banner of Public Space Protection Orders which carry bigger fines.

It also gives South Tyneside Council power to introduce more controls including making it an offence for dog walkers on public land not to carry a poo bag.

Owners can also be forced to immediately remove faeces their dog has left on land accessed by the public.

They must also keep the pooches on a lead of less than 1.5m-long in South Marine Park and all borough cemeteries.

Gazette reader Kerry Ann Elliott said: “Some people just let their dogs out on the streets to do their business. Happens on every estate and there’s no wardens walking the streets to dish out the fines.”

Peter Watt added: “I don’t know one person who has been fined for dog poo. Increasing the fine will make no difference as you don’t dish them out.”

Sharon Hoy Odix branded the new punishments a ‘waste of time’, adding: “Dog mess all over streets, some dog owners just walk away.”

Lynsey Simmons praised the move, saying: “More jobs for enforcement officers. About time the streets were cleaned up.”