Dog fouling FAQs
Since we’ve launched the ‘We’re Watching You’ campaign, we’ve been asked lots of interesting questions about how we can help to prevent dog fouling across our District.
Like us, we understand that you’re passionate about making South Derbyshire a better place to live, work and visit. So, we’ve rounded all of your questions together to help provide some clear answers.
Here’s some insight into some of the most common questions we’re getting:
“Can we put up posters ourselves?”
The We’re Watching You signs are provided to us by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. However, we have our own no dog fouling signs which we can provide to any residents who want to put them up on their own land.
“What should I do if I spot an overflowing bin?”
You can report this on our website by clicking here.
“Should we follow suspected perpetrators who won’t pick up after their dogs?”
No! This campaign encourages the small minority of people who don’t pick up after their dog to change their behaviour. If you see someone not picking up after their pet, then you could offer them a bag (if you have one available). We’ve found that this helps to change behaviour.
We definitely don’t encourage anyone to get into arguments over this by confronting or following dog owners. Report it to the Council - we’ve got officers trained to investigate and deal with any difficult conversations which need to be had.
“What if we don’t have the full details to report dog-fouling?”
Tell us what you can. Even if the information doesn’t lead us to an offender - it helps build up a picture of where incidents are taking place.
“Should we pick up dog mess despite it NOT being our own pets?”
A Keep Britain Tidy survey indicated that an amazing one in three people were willing to clean up dog mess – this goes to show how much we, as a nation care about this. If you do choose to do this, please take appropriate precautions as dog mess carries bacteria.
“Can we dispose of dog mess in other people’s wheelie bins?”
Firstly, think about whether you’d like people disposing of waste in YOUR bin without asking. We’d suggest that you only do so if you’ve got agreement from the owner of that bin.
“Why aren’t CCTV cameras used to catch the perpetrators?”
There are strict laws in this country on the use of CCTV for surveillance. Using CCTV to catch dog fouling in public is usually not seen as a proportionate use of the power by the courts and needs to be approved by the Information Commissioners Office.
However, where CCTV has been installed for other purposes and there are suitable signs up to ensure that people know about it, we can use CCTV evidence. We will not be installing CCTV solely for dog fouling.
“Do we need to record the dog in the act of messing (and the dog owner walking away?)
It’s potentially very easy to wrongly accuse dog owners, which is why we think the right thing to do is to offer dog owners a bag rather than accuse them of wrongdoing. If you’re convinced that a dog walker committed an offence then talk to us. Our officers are trained to ask the right questions to help get to the truth.
“Are you getting out enough to fine people?”
We issue about a dozen fines a year for dog offences; however, we know that just fining people is the not solution.
Keep Britain Tidy and other organisations with expertise in this area think that changing people’s behaviour needs a mixed approach of engagement, education and enforcement. Just 49% of the general public believe that fixed penalty notices are an effective behaviour change tool (Tidy Britain Group, 2014). The “We’re Watching You” signs are all about improving engagement and education.
“What happens with stray dogs?”
It’s against the law to allow your dog to stray. It’s also now an offence if you don’t microchip your dog. If we collect a stray dog, our dog control contractor will try to take it back to the owner. If it strays again then the dog will be taken to our contractor’s kennels which will require payment for its release.
“Why can’t you catch perpetrators through DNA?”
Behaviour change requires a mix of engagement, education and enforcement. Signs have been shown to be a very effective way of changing behaviour through engagement and education. DNA testing is only possible with the agreement of the dog owner. We can’t force dog owners to provide DNA samples so it’s not a viable way of enforcing the law as things stand.