Published: Monday, 5th August 2019
A Downham Market man has been fined £60 and ordered to pay costs of £250, plus a victim surcharge of £20, having been found guilty by the magistrates court of failing to clear up after his dog.
Allowing a dog to foul in a public place and not clearing up after it is a criminal offence under the Public Space Protection Order (Dog Control) 2018.
Mr Mark Coffill (66), of Hillcrest in Downham Market, was witnessed by one of the borough council's Community Safety and Neighbourhood Nuisance officers. Mr Coffill had allowed his dog to defecate on the pavement near Landseer Drive, Downham Market. He was then witnessed as he returned to his Hillcrest home.
He was invited to attend an interview under caution, but declined. The senior investigating officer considered issuing a fixed penalty notice, but decided to go straight to court as it was unlikely that Mr Coffill would accept an admission of guilt or pay the fine.
The evidence from the witnessing officer was strong, and although there were mitigating circumstances, the magistrates court ordered a reduced fine of £60 together with the victim surcharge of £20 and legal costs of £250, making a total £330 to pay.
Cllr Ian Devereux, Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk cabinet member for Environment said: "If he had been responsible and cleared up after his dog, Mr Coffill could have totally avoided this £330 bill. I hope it serves as a warning to others that we take this matter seriously, and will investigate and take action. This of course relies on people reporting issues and being willing to serve as witnesses if we prosecute."
"I would urge people to report all instances of dog fouling using our online form (west-norfolk.gov.uk/dogfouling). We need to know were the fouling incident has been witnessed and the name and address of the owner if known. We log all reports. This helps us find hot spots. We can then send in enforcement officers to try to catch people red handed. If you have more evidence and an address of the owner, we can start an investigation with a view to issuing a fixed penalty notice or taking the case forward for prosecution."
"Dog fouling spoils the area for residents and visitors alike, and we all need to do what we can to reduce it - either by being responsible dog owners, or by reporting those who are not."
Resources are limited for this type of work, so the more information people can provide about where and when incidents happen and details about the dog's owner, increases the chance of a successful prosecution.
Failure to clean up after your dog not only makes a horrible mess, but it can spread a disease called Toxocara Canis. In extreme cases, this can cause blindness, provoke rheumatic, neurological and asthmatic symptoms.
Cllr Devereux continued: "There really is no excuse. Dog owners simply need to take responsibility for their animal and when it fouls - clean up after it - grab it, bag it and then bin it in a nearby dog bin or their own household waste bin."