Threat of fines sees Southwark dog walkers clean up their act

Dog owners have picked up a tonne of extra dog poo since a clampdown almost two years ago.

But inspectors were hounded by walkers they spotted breaching the new rules. They suffered 43 instances of “abusive and threatening behaviour” – so will likely be wearing body-worn cameras in future.

Walkers in Southwark left 1,000kg less canine waste in open spaces after the “controversial” new rules were imposed.

Southwark council approved fines of between £100 and £1,000 if owners do not clean up poo, use leads in certain areas and limit themselves to walking six dogs. Playgrounds in the borough are also off limits.

Only 26 of the 234 people found breaking the rules were fined, as “education” rather than “enforcement” is the aim, according to a review of the rules.

Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency, presented his findings on Tuesday, and said: “You’ll recall that there was a degree of controversy about this – there were lots of views saying that we were going too far, other views saying that we weren’t going far enough.

“We thought at the time we came up with sensible compromises and we said we would keep it under review. The review is saying the controls are working well.”

Staff recorded the amount of council-collected poo in the 12 months after the rules came into effect and found a reduction of 1,155kg compared to the previous year.

The review said: “A key element of this is to encourage behavioral change of dog walkers, rather than enforcement, to ensure parks and open spaces can be enjoyed by all.”

Feedback from friends groups was “generally positive,” according to the review, but they suggested clearer signage was needed in some areas.

Dulwich Park Friends said that six dogs is too many for one walker and added it would like to see a greater reduction.


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