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Dog walkers face £100 fine if they fail to carry poop bag

By Alexander Britton

Dog walkers in one council area can now be fined £100 if they leave the house without a poop bag.

The new powers introduced by Daventry District Council in Northamptonshire mean owners could be hit regardless of whether their pet fouls.

Those who fail to pay the £100 fine could face a penalty of up to £1,000 if the case is taken to court.

The council says owners should have to prove how they would clean up after their dogs to cut down on the problem of fouling.

Mike Warren, health and housing portfolio holder for the council, said making sure dog owners carry bags is not "unreasonable".

He said: "We still have a small minority of persistent offenders that we are keen to stop.

"This new order gives us greater powers to take effective action against those irresponsible dog owners who do not pick up after their pets.

"These new powers are not intended to penalise the many responsible dog owners in our district, who should be assured that our officers will be taking a common-sense approach on their patrols. It's not unreasonable though, for example, to expect someone who has just arrived at a venue to walk their dog to be carrying poo bags."

The two council enforcement officers will not have powers of stop and search, but under the new Public Space Protection Order it will be an offence to not produce a bag when asked.

The council added fines "are not in place as a money-making scheme" and that 73% of the 834 people who responded to a consultation said they were in favour of the plan.

Lee Paris, campaigns officer at Dogs Trust, said the approach was "a sledgehammer to crack a nut".

He added: "The overwhelming majority of dog owners do pick up their dog's mess.

"We're unclear how such a blanket policy, which is likely to require significant resources and enforcement, will be effective in reducing the instances of dog fouling in Daventry. Dogs Trust would instead rather see time and resources spent on tackling irresponsible dog owners who are behaving in an anti-social way."

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