A COUNCIL crackdown on dog fouling in South Lakeland has not led to a single fine being issued since they were brought in last year, a meeting heard tonight.
Last May, South Lakeland District Council sanctioned the introduction of sweeping new dog control orders carrying the threat of £75 on-the-spot fines or a court appearance for offenders who did not pay up.
But at a meeting of the full council tonight, frontbench Liberal Democrats admitted no offenders have had to pay out because 'as yet officers have not witnessed any offence committed'.
Tory deputy leader Tom Harvey (Grange South) said: "I notice we haven't witnessed any instances of dog fouling. So there have been no fines by anyone at all? Is there any evidence the dog control orders have reduced dog fouling? What impact is it having?"
The Lib Dem portfolio holder for the issue, Coun Sue Sanderson (Staveley-in-Cartmel), replied: "There have been no fines. I've been asked this question a few times now and it's beginning to sound like a cracked record."
Coun Sanderson said SLDC's emphasis had always been on 'raising awareness and discouraging dog fouling.
She said future events were planned in April and May to help the public understand the orders.
In her report to the council, Coun Sanderson said there was an ongoing programme to raise awareness of the orders in conjunction with Police Community Support Officers, and that problem areas had been identified with the help of residents and that officers had approached dog walkers to talk about the orders.
And she added: "There are places in Ulverston, where there were serious problems which have been eradicated. We get one or two dollops now - not the amount we used to get."
The new orders were brought in after dog fouling was named during a council consultation as a major annoyance for residents.
The orders cover vast swathes of council-owned land such as 51 children’s play areas, 20 sports pitches and nine cemeteries, among others, as well as all land in the district within 10 metres of a public highway where there is a speed limit of 30mph or under.
At the time of their introduction, Lib Dem council leader Peter Thornton stressed that the council did not employ an 'army' of dog catchers, and said those members of the public who abided by the new rules had little to fear.
But he also said: "The few that don’t will find they are targeted. We will send someone there, they will watch that area and prosecutions will ultimately ensue."