People who fail to pick up dog mess in Mid Devon can now be fined £100

Dog litter
Mid Devon District Council has updated the Public Spaces Protection Order. Credit: BPM Media / Peter Harbour

Dog owners in Mid Devon can once again be prosecuted if they fail to pick up after their pets, do not keep them on leads or have more than six with them at a time.

Mid Devon District Council has passed an updated Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), a year after the previous order expired.

Cabinet member for the Environment and Climate change, Councillor Colin Slade (Lowman, Conservative) said: "It was first consulted on last year. It came to the environment committee and on their recommendation, we decided that it would go out to consultation once again."

He said it was "very clear" from the consultation's responses that a significant majority were in favour of the PSPO recommendations.

What are the PSPO rules?

  • Prohibition of dog fouling in public spaces defined within Mid Devon

  • Dogs must be on leads in public cemeteries and churchyards

  • Or, if requested not to by an authorised officer or police constable

  • Dogs are also banned from enclosed play areas

  • The number of dogs a person can be in control of in a public space is limited to six

The proposed fixed penalty notice (FPN) is £100 but if the payment is made within 14 days, it reduces to £50.

If there is a refusal to pay the FPN, the case may be taken to court and on conviction, the fine could increase to £1,000.

The fixed penalty notices are designed to act as a deterrent. Credit: BPM Media / Lewis Clarke

Since the PSPO has been revised, there are more areas available where dogs will be allowed off their leads in Mid Devon.

Cllr Slade said the only disagreement was over the maximum number of dogs, initially set at four.

He explained: "There were comments about businesses of dog walkers and that it should be increased to six. The majority of people said no, it shouldn't be six. However we feel that we do need to respect the needs of those local businesses.

"Overall, I think we've understood the consultation comments of our residents."

How many reports did Mid Devon District Council receive between 2019 to 2020?

  • 51 - dog fouling reports

  • 18 - dog on dog, or person reports

  • One - nuisance behaviour report

But a report made to members of the cabinet stated: "Consideration will also need to be given to enforcement, as there will be raised expectations from the public which will need to be managed.

"If the amount of time spent on duties remains unchanged, a total of 300 annual hours will be allocated to litter enforcement, compulsory recycling, cleansing inspections and dog fouling patrols."

Councillor Nikki Woollatt (Cullompton North, Independent) said: "I am quite concerned at the level of time that's allocated to enforcement. It works out just over five hours a week for the whole district, which will be a big patch.

"I've got a concern that we're not really realistic on the resource that we put into enforcement. That's been an issue here for years.

"We don't have a high record on issuing of fixed penalty notices in the past. We need to be careful because I think the public will expect more, especially when we publicise this new order."