Time to enforce laws properly

FOR the last two weeks we have seen letters expressing rightful anger and concern about dog mess and selfish local dog owners.

Empty threats of fines, a few token prosecutions and desultory efforts at enforcement by our local council, which now seems to have wiped its hands or should I say feet of the issue, will do nothing to address the problem which has become a ‘headline’ of our town and has unfortunately become one of the negatives which is Famously Hastings.

Over the years, work colleagues who commute from outside the area have generally been disgusted and amazed at the scale of the problem. One cannot walk in the town or local countryside and take in the surroundings without having to constantly look at where one is treading because dogs’ mess is everywhere.

In the remotest of places you will invariably find that the dogs have been there first. Even Hastings Cemetery is used by some selfish dog walkers to exercise their animals despite notices on the cemetery gates prohibiting them. Presumably more of Hastings’ toothless by-laws.

I have given up challenging owners who do not pick up their mess or allow their animals to run wild off the lead as I am tired of the verbal abuse and physical threats I have received, not from ‘hoodies’ and louts but from tidily dressed, overtly respectable dog owners who seem to believe that they are the ‘special ones’ and the law does not apply to them.

The problems are worsening so how about solutions. This is a national problem which requires a national solution. It’s tough on owners who are responsible and clean up their mess but time and time again too many selfish owners have been given every opportunity to abide by the law and consider others but have failed to respond. Now is surely the time for meaningful legislation to be put in place.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many of us live in densely populated areas with more than their fair share of irresponsible, anti-social dog owners.

Surely, now must be the time for licence fees to be re-introduced and set at a realistically high level which will reflect the scale of the problem, contribute towards effective enforcement of relevant laws and perhaps deter the less considerate, anti-social element from becoming dog owners in the first place.

Perhaps, in the most densely populated areas, due to public health considerations, dog ownership should be restricted to those who have special needs for canine assistance.

PETER BENSON

Quarry Hill

St Leonards