The number of dog owners fined for failing to pick up their pooch’s poo fell almost a fifth in the last year, research has revealed.
A total of 2,868 fixed penalty notices were issued in England and Wales in 2014/15 - a fall on the 3,521 handed out in the previous year – while a third of town halls did not issue any fines.
Data obtained by BBC Radio 5 Live indicates 73,824 complaints were made about dog droppings over the past 12 months, a significant drop on the near 83,000 lodged in 2013/14.
Barnsley MBC dished out 187 fines last year - the highest number of any authority in England and Wales – while the 972 penalties issued by Liverpool City Council was the highest figure over the past five years.
Of the 302 authorities that responded to the survey, 103 had not issued any fixed penalty notices in 2014/15 and 48 had not handed out any in five years.
Sheffield City Council, which did not issue any fixed penalties over the past 12 months despite receiving 1407 complaints, said it ‘appreciated that dog mess is an issue’ but claimed it did not have the resources to raise its response.
‘In these times of austerity we simply do not have staff available to patrol Sheffield’s parks around the clock, waiting for an offence to be committed,’ Sheffield said.
The figures come as councils across the country seek to find a solution to the mounting problem of uncollected dog poo. Numerous town halls have made promotional videos to combat the issue – most memorably Cork City Council – while others are looking to science or shocking imagery to improve public action.
Barking and Dagenham LBC announced recently that it was investigating using DNA testing to identify hound owners who failed to scoop the poop, while Spelthorne BC got in hot water last year when it’s image of a child seemingly eating faeces went viral.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said the issue ‘blights communities’, adding ‘this government will continue to work with councils and partner organisations to help find local solutions to littering’.