Why does the Town Council NOT employ a Dog Warden?
The question is often asked – Why does the Town Council NOT employ a Dog Warden?
The answer – Town and Parish Councils do not have the legal power to employ enforcement officers who deal with dog fouling (or parking). Northumberland County Council (NCC) however do have these legal powers.
NCC though do not have Dog Wardens. The role is an Animal Welfare Officer which incorporates a number of duties within the description including carrying out enforcement patrols for dog fouling.
NCC currently have 5 Animal Welfare Officers(AWO) and 6 Environmental Enforcement Officers(EEO) who carry out Dog Fouling Patrols as well as their other duties throughout the County.
1 of each of these officers have Newbiggin as part of their dedicated area.
In addition 6 Town Councils within the County have agreements in place and provide finance to have 3 further Environmental Enforcement Officers provided for their areas to enhance enforcement.
Newbiggin by the Sea Town Council committed £8,000 in our budget for 2019-20 to make arrangements with NCC to enter into such an agreement for enhanced enforcement. This amount would cover training, uniform, equipment and wages to employ an officer for one-day per week.
When we approached NCC, they were happy to set up such an agreement, but unfortunately no other town or parish councils were available to partner with Newbiggin. NCC would not consider employing an Enforcement Officer for 1 day per week.
The Town Council had hoped that our Neighbourhood Services enhanced agreement service could incorporate an enforcement aspect but due to the different contractual requirements this arrangement is not possible.
We have exhausted all possibilities of providing a dedicated enforcement officer for Newbiggin within the budget available but remain on a list with NCC as a priority case for when another Parish or Town Council become available for such an agreement.
NCC Animal Welfare Officers and Environmental Enforcement Officers are still however visiting Newbiggin along with other areas in the County – you may not always see them as they are sometimes out of uniform.
NCC target specific areas with high impact operations with a number of officers if information is provided that an area has a specific problem.
NCC and it’s Officers take a robust stance against dog fouling in towns and villages and adopt a zero tolerance policy. They have had to take this approach due to the enormous number of complaints regarding dog fouling that they receive from residents throughout the county.
The offence of ‘Dog Fouling’ is complete when the dog fouls and you do not pick it up immediately afterwards.
If you are caught you will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for a fine of £100.
As a Town Council we encourage all dog owners to ‘bag it and bin it’, and indeed our responsible dog owners do. To enhance the cleanliness of our town we also encourage all to:
- report any sightings of irresponsible dog owners not picking up faeces to Northumberland County Council, and
- report any issues with dog fouling on the promenade and footpaths to Northumberland County Council.
Please report on the following link which is also available on the NCC website.
As part of our new anti-dog fouling campaign we will be providing regular updates on what we plan to do to tackle dog fouling issues in Newbiggin.