A campaign to tackle dog fouling in parts of Liverpool has seen a dramatic decline in the messy issue – with some areas seeing the problem more than halved.
The campaign is one of five key themes in a new partnership between Liverpool City Council and Keep Britain Tidy as part of a 12 month action programme to make Liverpool a cleaner city.
And in the new Year, the Mayor of Liverpool has issued a warning to irresponsible owners that awareness signs will be replaced by £80 fines.
Since the summer, the council deployed awareness raising tactics which saw posters erected along popular routes in four wards in the city warning dog owners that they were being watched and urging them to ban and bin their pet’s mess.
And the tactic has worked, with new evaluation data showing the problem has substantially reduced by more than half along these routes:
• 58.6% in St Michael’s, Aigburth
• 56.9% in Kensington
• 51.4% in Riverside, city centre
• 46.9% in County, Walton
Alongside the campaign, the council has recently adopted a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to fine those who are failing to bag and dispose their dog’s mess as part of wider call to action.
This was instigated after the council received 1,865 complaints regarding dog fouling between January 2020 to January 2022. In one instance a children’s play area had to be closed for a week for a deep cleanse because of the problem.
New powers are now available to the council to issue on-the-spot fines to owners who don’t keep their dog on a lead in a number of public places, such as children’s play areas, around park lakes, cemeteries and crematoriums.
The council is also creating a new enforcement team which will have regular responsibility of targeting known dog fouling areas and to issue fixed penalty notices to owners.
As well as dog fouling, the Keep Liverpool Tidy programme is also targeting fly-tipping, cigarette litter, commercial waste and litter in parks.
The council’s new policy on tackling fly-tipping is already showing benefits. A recent social media shaming campaign, using footage from new CCTV cameras installed at number of hot spots, has raised awareness (garnering more than 1 million impressions on social media) and the authority is now also tracking 40 offenders and processing fines of £400 to more than half of them.
Mayor Joanne Anderson, who is also the Cabinet lead for Neighbourhood Services, said: “There is no excuse for not bagging and binning your dog’s mess and yet some owners find this simple task beyond them. It’s extremely selfish behaviour and one which can easily ruin a pleasant walk or play with your children.
“As a council through our new Keep Liverpool Tidy programme we’re taking a much harder zero tolerance approach to this issue. For the past few months we’ve been issuing signs, to raise awareness and educate owners, but in the new year we’ll be issuing fines thanks to the new PSPO.
“Enough is enough. Dog owners have been told, have been warned and now they will be hit in the pocket. A dog bag costs pennies. And it takes seconds to bag and bin the mess. The penalty for not doing that has not been enforced as quickly or as often as I’d like. That’s changing. And we know the majority of dog owners, who do take their role responsibly, will support that too.”