What are the health risks associated with dog fouling?
Dog faces carry harmful infection, the most widely known being Toxocariasis. Human toxocariasis is potentially a serious contamination with faeces carrying eggs of the parasite. The parasite can only infect humans if swallowed. Toxocariasis is mainly found in children between 18 months and five years. Eye disorders are the most commonly reported complaint associated with Toxocariasis, although other symptoms are vague aches, dizziness, nausea, asthma and epileptic fits.
Toxocara eggs are not infectious until they mature, which usually takes at least 2-3 weeks after they have been deposited by a dog. Dog faeces will only contaminate the soil when it has been left on the ground for this period of time, so if owners immediately cleaned up after their dog, the threat of toxocariasis would be virtually eradicated.
What are the dog fouling laws?
The Dogs [Fouling of Land] Act 1996 allows local authorities to designate any public land as poop scoop areas where dog owners must clean up after their pets.
What action can local authorities take?
Under the Dogs [Fouling of Land] Act 1996, failure to clean up dog fouling is an offence subject to a maximum fine of £1,000. Local authorities can also give offenders the option of paying a fixed penalty fine of £50 rather than going to court. Dog wardens and Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Community Enforcement Team, which includes staff from Streetscene, Community Safety and Parking, are all able to issue fixed penalties for dog fouling offences.
What can individuals do?
To take action against a dog owner who has not cleaned up after their dog, note the details of the offence as soon as possible. Details should include the name and address of the person in charge of the dog, a description of the dog, plus details of the date, time and place. Contact the Community Enforcement Team at Cheshire West and Chester Council on 0300 123 7033.