‘Pick up or pay up’ warning to dog owners

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Pick up or pay up! That’s the message to dog owners in Longridge and the rest of the Ribble Valley.

New orders requiring the borough’s dog owners to clean up after their pets and keep them under control in public come into force on August 1.

The dog control orders will see pet owners face fines of up to £1,000 in a magistrates’ court or fixed penalty notices of £80 for anti-social pet behaviour.

Enforcement officers will be out and about over the coming months and will swoop on those continuing to be irresponsible.

Five orders have been approved by the council’s community services committee to tackle the ongoing problem of dog dirt in public places, particularly on playing fields.

The orders require pet owners to remove dog faeces from public land, including footpaths and fields, to keep dogs on leads when instructed to do so by a dog enforcement officer and to prohibit dogs from going on sports pitches, playing fields and children’s playgrounds.

Dogs must also be kept on a lead in Clitheroe Cemetery and no more than four can be walked in public at any one time.

Signs spelling out the new rules will be installed at relevant sites over the coming weeks.

The borough council’s head of environmental health, James Russell, said: “Complaints about dog issues are the second highest received by the council each year and residents are demanding action on the issue.

“Most dog owners are responsible and pick up after their pets, but there is an irresponsible minority who do no and the new orders will give us greater powers to deal with them.

“Ignorance of the law is not an excuse and the message is simple: the days of allowing dogs to foul in public are over, so pick up or pay up.”

The council receives over 200 complaints about dog fouling and spends £30,000 tackling the problem each year.

Dog faeces take two months to break down and can cause a number of infections, including toxocariasis, which can lead to breathing difficulties, red and painful eyes and clouded vision, particularly in young people.