Hot under the collar

A sign in Wateringpool Lane, Lostock Hall
A sign in Wateringpool Lane, Lostock Hall

Dog owners are being fined for letting their animals off the lead in certain parts of South Ribble.

Bosses at South Ribble Council say they’re taking the zero tolerance approach because of problems with dog fouling, but some owners have claimed it’s ‘over the top’.

Owners whose dogs can be found in public without supervision or without a lead can be fined up to £1,000, and anyone who doesn’t clear up after their dog’s mess can be issued a £75 fixed penalty, or anything up to £1,000.

In one case last week, a man claimed he was followed by two dog wardens after he refused to provide his details.

The owner, who asked not to be named, says he was walking down Wateringpool Lane, in Lostock Hall, when he was stopped by South Ribble Borough Council workers, who wanted to give him an on-the-spot fine of £75.

The man said: “Two men approached me near the gasworks, and asked if I knew that it’s an offence to not have my dog on a lead.

“I said that I didn’t, and asked them how I was supposed to know about it. They said it had been in local newspapers, and informed me ignorance is no excuse.

“Needless to say, I told the gentlemen where to shove it, put my dog on the lead and headed for home. At which point, a bizarre thing happened.”

The workers asked the man to give them his details so they could give him the fine, and when he refused, they started to follow him.

He said: “I found this rather intimidating, and it was only sheer luck that enabled me to eventually shake them off.”

The tough measures were introduced at the end of last year to reduce dog fouling on the streets of South Ribble.

Around 1,000 notices have been slapped on lamp posts across the borough, warning people of the consequences, but the man claims they weren’t in Wateringpool Lane when he visited last Wednesday.

The following day, when the Guardian visited, signs could be seen on most of the lamp posts.

Coun Jim Hothersall, cabinet member with responsibility for neighbourhood services, said: “Residents from every area of the borough have told us that dog fouling is one of their biggest concerns.

“We vowed to crack down on the problem, and in September we adopted a zero-tolerance approach to unsupervised dogs.

“Dog owners may say it is harsh, but our responsibility lies in keeping the streets of South Ribble safe and clean.

“When owners refuse to provide their details, as happened in this instance, we ask our officers to follow at a discreet distance to try to take a car registration number or address, so they can issue a fixed penalty.”

He added: “Several vicious dog attacks have happened in the borough in recent months, some resulting in fatalities of other people’s pets, highlighting the need to enforce our zero-tolerance approach without exception.

“We circulated leaflets, put up signs right across South Ribble and ensured stories about it were published in our council newspaper, Forward, on the front page of our website and by the local media.”

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For the full story, see this week’s Leyland Guardian