Call for DNA database for dogs as North Somerset Council launches zero tolerance approach to dog mess

A private firm has been brought in to deal with owners who fail to clean up after their dogs in areas like Weston-super-Mare. Credit: PA

The government is being urged to set up a nationwide dog DNA database to catch owners who fail to clean up after their pets.

Meanwhile North Somerset Council is bringing in private contractors to take a zero tolerance approach to dog mess, with negligent owners risking a £75 fine.

However Councillor John Ley-Morgan says local solutions do not go far enough.

The independent Weston-super-Mare Uphill member recently told colleagues: “This is not a problem that is unique to North Somerset, it is nationwide.

"What is needed is a nationwide DNA bank, with dog owners being required to have their dog’s DNA recorded, so that any piece of mess that is left behind can be tested and referred back to the bank.

Cllr John Ley-Morgan is not the first to call for a dog DNA database as a forensic solution to the problem.

It was first trialled on a local level in 2016 by Barking and Dagenham Council and hailed as a “great success”, with the amount of dog mess on the streets more than halving.

Small scale schemes have also been rolled out in Spain and Germany.

North Somerset Council has Public Space Protection Orders to tackle a range of issues including littering, dog fouling and antisocial behaviour.

Fresh calls for DNA database as North Somerset Council cracks down on owners who fail to pick up after their pets Credit: ITV

Breaches can result in £75 fines and can already be enforced by council staff, police officers and PSCOs.

The council will soon be bringing in a private firm to act as “extra eyes and ears around the district”.

Enforcement manager Chris Clarke told the scrutiny panel meeting: “Local Authority Support will effectively patrol problem areas, so seafronts, town centres, generally where we have high footfall.

The council expects to prosecute 700 breaches of Public Space Protection Orders a year.

The authority’s legal team is in talks with the courts over how the extra cases will be resourced.

Credit: Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter.

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