Rotherham Council's dog fouling PSPO is extended for a year

A BOROUGH-wide scheme to tackle dog fouling has been extended for 12 months – despite only nine fines being given out in three years.
Dog fouling signDog fouling sign
Dog fouling sign

The public space protection order (PSPO) was introduced in 2020 and can see owners given £100 fixed penalty notices – or pay £1,000 should the matter go to court.

Rotherham Council has acknowledged that the level of enforcement has been “lower than desired” but cabinet members voted to renew the policy for another year.

It was considered whether to add more parts to the PSPO, including keeping dogs on leads when asked by an authorised officer, keeping dogs on leads when in cemeteries, not taking dogs into children’s play areas, and not carrying suitable means to pick up dog mess.

But it was decided that these would be addressed as part of a wider piece of work on enforcement, which will also explore why the number of fines has been so low.

The concerns are set against a backdrop of 450 dogs being seized by South Yorkshire Police in 2022 – six times as many as five years ago.

Similarly, complaints dealt with by RMBC about strays hit a record 328 last year, with so-called “Covid puppies” bought in lockdown thought to have been a contributory factor.

And a council spokesperson added: “Whilst the level of fines appears low, this does not reflect the impact that high visibility patrols generate in dog fouling hotspots, where the presence of officers in itself encourages people to pick up after their dogs.

“However, officers cannot be present at all locations all of the time, so it is important for them to have the power to take action when they witness someone breaching the PSPO.

“It is acknowledged that levels of enforcement are lower than desired and this needs to be further considered as it may directly impact the effectiveness of any order and certainly any potential scope to increase the number of offences covered by the order.

“As a result of low levels of enforcement across PSPOs in general, officers will lead a review of the enforcement capacity and capability as it relates to PSPOs in order to inform future orders.”