Only four fines issues across East Devon for dog fouling
- Credit: Archant
More than 200 dog fouling complaints have been made in East Devon since the start of the year – but only four on-the-spot fines have been issued.
The Herald submitted a Freedom of Information request looking at the number of dog mess complaints made in each of the last four years compared to the number of fixed penalty notices issued to owners for not picking up after their pets.
The figures from East Devon District Council (EDDC) reveal that 75 complaints had been made in Sidmouth since 2014 – the third highest amount in the district.
Ottery has had fewer than eight complaints every year except in 2017, when that number more than doubled to 19. In the past four years, 38 dog fouling complaints were made in Ottery but 19 of these were from this year – this is compared with five in 2016, eight in 2015 and six in 2014.
The figures revealed that across East Devon, a total of 941 complaints were made over the last four years. But over the same time period, only 23 fines for dog fouling – worth £80 each – were issued across the 54 towns and villages that make up the district.
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In total, EDDC collected £1,840 from owners who had been caught not picking up after their pets.
In the last few years, the number of complaints has been slowly decreasing in East Devon – with 291 in 2015, 253 the following year and 209 in 2017.
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An EDDC spokeswoman said almost all the dog fouling enquiries related to small areas where general advice was being sought, and were often related to private land where the offences did not apply.
She added: “We have very few repeat complaints and even fewer situations where an offender is identified.
“Fixed penalty notices will only be issued where reliable evidence is received, and in some cases, for example allegations of fouling on private land, it is sufficient and appropriate to provide education.
“The streets and pavements of East Devon have never been cleaner and the reduction in the number of enquiries to only four per week, together with the very low number of fixed penalty notices issued, reflects that almost all dog owners are responsible and will always pick up wherever they are.”