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Night-vision goggles fail to catch a single dog walker in crackdown on mess

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Night-vision goggles that were introduced in an effort to combat dog fouling in Stafford have not caught anyone since they were introduced in November.

The £230 goggles, which including a built-in laser illuminator to improve viewing in the dark, were brought in by the borough bouncil to catch irresponsible dog owners.

They have been used by Stafford council inspectors who have been visiting parks and open spaces in an attempt to make catching dog fouling easier during the winter months.

However, more than five months down the line and with the summer months just around the corner, council bosses have revealed not one person has been fined as a result of the goggles.

But the authority has said they are proving a 'good deterrent' in combating the crime.

Will Conaghan, spokesman for the council, said: "We don't want to fine people. We want people to clean up after their dogs.

"Nobody has been fined by us as a result of the night vision goggles.

Council officials say the goggles are a good deterrent

"But it seems they are proving a good deterrent as during our patrols, officers have reported that all the dog owners they have come across were cleaning up after their pets."

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Councillor Christine Baron, who represents the Forebridge ward, said she would like to see a dog warden brought back as an alternative.

"The only way that they can actually do anything about is they take a photograph of the dog actually fouling then approach the owner of the dog and ask them to pick them up

"They can't be everywhere. People take their dogs out at all different times of day at night and people can't be everywhere. It costs money for the council to have members of staff going around and doing this kind of thing and it's a very big borough.

"The number of people that say to me where's the dog warden as we do not have them anymore - it was good because if anybody called them and committed the crime she would go to that area."

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The operation has seen two officers will monitoring hot spots with the goggles, including fields and football pitches across the county, as part of their job which includes littering and fly tipping.

In 2015, the council handed out around half a dozen fixed penalty notices or taken prosecution action against dog owners.

Councillor Baron added: "I would like for someone to approach anybody who was walking their dog to be approached and asked if they have any doggy bags. If not, they could say this is a warning and if they are caught again they would be fined.

"I'm a dog lover and always used to carry doggy bags and the majority of responsibly owners do. We should not have our street scene men going around picking up dog mess."

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