Above, left to right: Environmental Health Officers Helen and  Karon Williams EHO, with Caldicot Town Councillor Frank Rowberry and Education & Awareness Officer from Monmouthshire County Council, Sue Parkinson, at Caldicot Football Club

The impact of pet fouling in Monmouthshire is being highlighted following an awareness day aimed at showing how dog mess can blight communities. It comes after Monmouthshire County Council joined forces with Caldicot Town Council and Goytre Fawr Community Council to organise a dog fouling awareness day in Caldicot and Goytre on 14th October. During the awareness day the council’s environmental health, and waste and street cleaning teams, and the town and community councils spoke to dog owners, handed out free dog poo bags and put up signs to raise awareness of the issue. It follows the successful launch of Keep Wales Tidy’s national dog fouling campaign earlier this month

Although nine out of ten dog owners act responsibly and clean up after their pets in public areas, the one out of ten who don’t have a negative impact on green spaces and parks. Dog fouling continues to be one of the most frequently reported and contentious environmental issues and the focus this time was on sports pitches and areas where children play.  These are areas where children, young people and adults can most easily come into contact with dog faeces left on the ground, and it is imperative that people pick up dog mess to prevent it becoming a public health problem.

Education & Awareness Officer Sue Parkinson meets one of the many responsible dog owners that came along on the day.

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health, Councillor Lisa Dymock said: “Our focus needs to remain on this issue as reports of incidents continue, particularly in children’s playgrounds and our sports and leisure areas, putting the health of our young people at risk. These awareness days remind all dog owners, especially as we enter the darker winter months, of the importance of the simple message – bag it and bin it.”

Local authorities and Gwent Police are empowered to issue fixed penalty notices and owners failing to pick up their pet’s excrement face a £75 on the spot fine.  If the person refuses to pay, and the case is taken to court the offender may be fined up to £1,000.  Dog owners failing to pick up can be easily reported to the council via: http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/home/streets-parking-and-transport/recycling-and-waste/dogfouling/

There are just a few days remaining for local residents and groups to respond to Monmouthshire County Council’s public consultation on Public Spaces Protection Orders.  These are being introduced to update the way that dogs are controlled in public places, particularly in parks and open spaces.  The public consultation is available via this link: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/public-spaces-protection-order-on-dog-controls-in-monmouthshire/ and ends on 26th October.  The council can report a big response to the consultation, but more local opinions are still very much welcomed.