Dog waste in the streets will not be tolerated – that’s the message from Worthing Borough Council following the prosecution of a dog owner for failing to clean up after her pets.
Michelle Penny was visiting her parents in Meadow Road, Worthing on 28th January this year when she allowed one of her two dogs to defecate on the footpath right outside their property. No attempt was made to pick up the waste, which Ms Penny proceeded to walk straight past.
With the community already disgusted by a number of recent incidents of unremoved dog waste, a nearby neighbour captured the incident on a smartphone and reported it to Worthing Borough Council.
Last week, Worthing Magistrates Court found Ms Penny guilty in her absence of breaching the Fouling of the Land dog order, and fined her £200, adding a £20 victim surcharge and £244 to cover costs; a total of £464 for not removing her dog’s excrement.
Councillor Clive Roberts, Executive Member for the Environment at Worthing Borough Council, said: “I am very pleased about this successful prosecution of Ms Penny for failing to pick up her dog’s mess. There has been a lot of discussion on Facebook lately about the problem of irresponsible dog owners, quite rightly so; however it is only a small minority of owners and it is incredibly difficult to catch people.
“It is not the dogs’ fault – just anti-social owners.
“We do continue to try to discourage this awful behaviour with the ‘pick it up’ stencils; but in this case a community minded person took the initiative to capture the offence on their smartphone, and I offer my thanks to that person. If anybody else can gather evidence to stop further offences and assist prosecution please contact the dog wardens on 01903 221064 or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Andy Edwards, Head of Environment at Adur & Worthing Councils added: “Having already managed to secure one prosecution for a similar offence earlier this year, it’s great that we are making progress and actively targeting those responsible. It’s a firm reminder to those who don’t clear up after their pets that where we can prosecute, we will.”
Worthing Borough Council often receives complaints regarding the non-removal of dog mess, repeatedly being asked what is being done to fix the problem. Where there is enough evidence, the Council will issue fixed penalty notices and, where appropriate, pursue the matter into the Courts.
If a dog owner is spotted not picking up after their animal, residents are encouraged to report the incident and if possible record any evidence. Due to the quick thinking of the neighbour in Meadow Road, the Council was able to secure a conviction on this occasion which may not have been possible without the smartphone footage gathered.