Responsible dog ownership

Responsible dog ownership is one of our top priorities. Our aim is to keep the district clear of dog fouling and stray dogs through an effective cleaning regime, encouragement, education and enforcement of responsible dog ownership.

We regularly clean up badly fouled public areas and streets and maintain more than 250 dog waste bins and 1,000 litter bins. We seize unattended dogs wandering the district and work with the public to encourage responsible dog ownership through patrols, campaigns and events.

  • No such thing as the poo fairy
    The posters are targeted at areas where dog walkers make the effort to pick up but fail to put the bag into a dog waste bin, or litter bin, or take it home and put it in their household bin
  • Bag and flag events
    These are highly effective local campaigns which raise the profile of fouling in local public areas, shame irresponsible dog owners into picking up and leave an area clear of dog fouling. The poo found in the area is bagged and a flag is placed next to it. It's then left and officers stay to give advice and hand out free poo bags, eventually clearing the area at the end of the day
  • Enforcement patrols and signs
    Using local knowledge enforcement officers patrol areas to provide a visible deterrent and issue penalty notices to dog walkers who don't pick up. We operate a “no excuse” standard and have issued over 150 penalty notices. We will pursue anyone who doesn't pay the penalty notice through the courts and seek the maximum penalty of £1,000

During the patrols over 20,000 dog fouling enforcement signs have been placed on lamp posts throughout the district.

  • Community visits
    Dog Wardens are always keen to be given the opportunity to meet with local groups to share experiences and discuss responsible dog ownership. They target schools on a regular basis to offer advice to the dog owners of the future
  • We're watching you
    This initiative targets irresponsible dog walkers by preying on their fear of being caught and fined. The use of this glow-in-the-dark poster has seen 90% reductions in some areas. The posters are rotated through the district monthly and are available for loan to local community groups
  • Big scoop
    This is a national campaign run in partnership with Dogs Trust and Keep Britain Tidy to spread the “bag it and bin it” message
  • Leaflet drops
    In leafleting an area, dog wardens provide people with information on dog fouling and how to report offenders
  • Dog walkers code of conduct
    To give encouragement to responsible dog walking businesses and confidence to their customers we have endorsed a voluntary code of conduct, many local dog walkers have signed up and complaints about such businesses have dramatically reduced. A business wishing to join can do so by signing and dating the code of conduct application form and returning it to the Dog Warden Service

What you can do

Organise your own awareness event

Whether it is a leaflet drop, poster campaign, putting up enforcement signs, requesting a community visit or carrying out your own bag and flag event, we'll provide you with free advice and materials such as signs, leaflets, posters and flags. Your local school is often more than willing to help by passing the message of responsible dog ownership to their pupils and parents or try your local community groups, parish, town or city council.

All we ask is that you tell the dog warden service how it went.

Report it

Please contact customer services to ask for a badly-fouled public area to be cleaned up or report a full or damaged dog waste bin.

Report a person you have seen not picking up by providing details of what you saw, where and when, a description of the dog and person and the identity of the person, if known, to customer services. You must have seen the dog foul and the person not picking it up.

This information will be used to target future responsible dog ownership campaigns.

As a responsible dog owner:

Always carry bags when walking your dog and give a supply to anyone walking your dog.

Remove your dog's poo immediately and bin it or take it home. Don't leave bagged-up poo on a path or on a branch. Even if you intend to remove it later, you've still committed an offence.

If you use a dog walker check they have signed up to our voluntary code of conduct and if they take your dog into their home for any time in return for a payment check they have a home boarding licence.

Keep your dog under control at all times and out of children's play areas. Keep it on a lead near roads, around sports pitches and areas used by the public. If your dog shows signs of aggression ensure it is kept on a lead and muzzled in public places.

When walking your dog, watch it at all times. Please note your dog is most likely to foul at the start of the walk or when it's taken off its lead.

Have your dog regularly wormed.

Don't let your dog stray and report it immediately to customer services if it does.

Microchipping your dog and making sure it wears a collar with a tag with your name and address on it in public places, will help get your dog back and ensure you comply with the law. Neutering your dog prevents unwanted puppies and reduces the likelihood of straying.

Dog fouling leaflet