Dog fouling is an issue that is often raised with the Community Association, and we keep asking that people pick up their dog’s mess from the footpath, verge, farmland and other people’s gardens.
Dog excrement, in addition to it being messy and smelly, can carry bacteria and worms that can be harmful to humans and livestock.
When it comes to the law relating to dog fouling, ignorance is NOT bliss.
Dog fouling in public places is included in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, introduced in 2014.
Public places covered by the law include:
- roads, pavements and public footpaths
- parks and green spaces
- town centres and shopping precincts
- car parks
- playing fields, playgrounds and school grounds
Dog fouling can be reported to Bromsgrove District Council https://www.bromsgrove.gov.uk/my-place/street-cleaning/litter-and-street-cleaning.aspx . The penalty for not clearing up dog fouling can be up to £1,000 if taken to court, but there is also provision for a fixed penalty scheme.
Exceptions to the offence are:
- The person in charge of the dog has a reasonable excuse for not clearing up. (Being unaware of the fouling or not having the means to clean up is not an excuse.)
- The owner or occupier of the land has consented to the faeces being left
- The person puts the faeces in a bin on the land
- The person in charge of the dog has a registered visual impairment
There are some areas where picking up is not a legal requirement (unless a specific order or bylaw has been placed), and these are heathland, woodland, land used for the grazing of animals. However, farmers/landowners can seek a private prosecution, using a relevant piece of legislation. Remember, excrement in the grass and feed can kill livestock, abort unborn lams & calves and can end up on the food that you eat.
With regard the incident that mentioned. Even though it is fitting that the dog mess should be picked up the legal bit is unclear and whether the mess should be legally picked up will depend on where the dog mess was, i.e. if the dog mess was adjacent to that part of Wood Lane that is a track between Wood Lane Farm and the entrance to Pepperwood that land is private, does not belong to Worcestershire County Council and is designated a bridle path, therefore, it is up to the landowner to say whether he permits dog fouling on his land.