Walsall binmen get powers to hand out £50 fines
Council workers including binmen will be given powers to issue spot fines to crackdown on dog fouling across Walsall.
Staff, from grass cutters to councillors, will be able to give £50 fines, which could rise to £100 subject to a review.
Council chiefs are looking at the same powers for dealing with littering in a bid to crackdown on unsightly mess.
Currently only a small team of around a dozen have the authority to issue fines to dog owners who fail to clean up and the new initiative aims to crackdown on the problem.
Steps to give more people powers to tackle dog mess have received cross party support and training will be provided to workers.
It comes as there have been issues over mess being left on football fields or even hedges outside homes.
Action to stop littering has also been welcomed, although the introduction of those on-the-spot fines could be subject to consultation.
Council leader Mike Bird said dog fouling was amongst the top priorities to tackle.
He said: "We have got people out there who are council employees doing different jobs.
"It is eyes and ears in and around the borough. Binmen are walking along the road every morning.
"If every employee might have the power to introduce a spot fine people are going to be very wary.
"Everybody should be in a position, councillors as well, why should we be any different?
"Kids are playing football and then are just covered in dog mess, that is not acceptable when open spaces are for everyone to enjoy."
Councillors have agreed a motion to empower authority employees be able to administer on-the-spot fines.
Labour Councillor Ian Robertson added: "In the past, the council has tried to educate dog owners about the health and anti-social consequences of not cleaning up after their pets.
"The majority of owners are responsible but some simply don't take any notice or just don't care.
"Apart from being an unpleasant nuisance if you step in it or fall in it, dog mess can also be a health hazard.
"Small children are at risk from toxocariasis, a parasite in faeces, which can result in partial or total loss of sight."
The agreed motion stated: "Officers be requested to extend our current measures to empower all operatives working within areas of public open space, any other appropriate council employees, to enable them to administer spot fines to irresponsible owners who fail to clean up after animals, and that all of the appropriate officers be empowered to issue spot fines on people who discard litter following any required public consultation."
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