19 per cent increase in dog fines

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THE number of irresponsible dog owners given fines has risen 19 per cent since last year.

Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has dished out 183 fixed penalty notices so far this year, compared to 154 in the same period in 2010.

That represents a 19 per cent increase and, according to town hall chiefs, illustrates the new hard-line approach of the council’s street wardens team.

Fines are given out when dog owners are seen not cleaning up after their pooch, or not keeping their pet under control in public.

Councillor Phil Scott, head of environment at the authority, said: “We’re extremely pleased with our performance; our team’s no-nonsense approach has enabled us to effectively address an issue which residents feel strongly about.

“As a dog owner myself, I understand how frustrating it is when dog owners are tarred with the same brush because a few, certainly a minority, continue to act irresponsibly.

“I’ve heard about road accidents and serious injuries resulting from those selfish people who refuse to use a dog lead, and we all know how strongly residents feel about dog fouling; so let this be a message to the anti-social few, we will not tolerate this behaviour.”

But at Monday’s HBC cabinet meeting, Cllr Rob Cooke pointed out that the number of fixed penalty notices issued for dog fouling had only gone up by one between March 2010 and March 2011. He accused the Labour group of failing to honour its manifesto pledge and said: “The perception in the town is that this is an issue that is getting worse.”