DOGS (Fouling of Land) Act 1996
We adopted the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 to cover all land within its district which is open to the air and to which the public are allowed or permitted to have access these include:
- Open Spaces
- Amenity Areas
- Shopping Precincts
- Grass Verges
- Car Parks
- Playing Fields
The law does not apply to the following:
- Land comprised in or running alongside a highway where the speed limit is over 40mph.
- Land used for agriculture or woodland.
- Land which is permanently marshland, moor or heath.
- Rural common land.
Private gardens, drives, roads etc. are not covered by the legislation as they are not for general public access.
People who are registered blind and in control of a dog are exempt.
If you are not sure whether the Act applies to an area, you should assume that it does.
What can the Council do?
Failure to clean up after your dog is an offence. Anyone seen allowing their dog to foul and not cleaning up after it may be approached by the Councils Animal Welfare Officer or other authorised officers and their details taken. The Council may prosecute for such offences but, in most cases, the offender will be issued with a FIXED PENALTY NOTICE of £50.
The owner will have the opportunity to pay the fixed penalty and thereby avoid conviction. The notice must be paid to Winchester City Council within 14 days or, alternatively, if the fixed penalty is not paid, the offender may be prosecuted and if found guilty of the offence, fined a maximum of £1,000. It is no defence to claim ignorance of the dog's actions.
We do not operate a payment scheme for fixed penalty charges.
How can I report fouling?
If you have a dog fouling hot spot near where you live i.e. where there is regular and persistent fouling, you can report this to Winchester City Council’s Environmental Health and Licensing Team on 01962 848097. Please be aware that unless officers witness the act of fouling we cannot serve a fixed penalty notice. In reporting a fouling hot spot it will enable Winchester City Council to focus resources on the areas of greatest need.
However, the best way to help catch the small percentage of dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs is for you to report an offence to us when you see it. Let us know the time, date, place and circumstances of the offence, plus a description of the owner and dog. If you know where the offender lives or can give us the car registration, this would help us with identification.
When walking your dog, always carry a "poop scoop" or suitable receptacle to pick up your dogs faeces. These can be put in a dog waste bin (or marked dual waste bin) or taken home for disposal.
Please help us achieve our aim by being a responsible dog owner, thereby enabling everyone to enjoy the environment.
Further information on the Act: The Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996
Toxocara Canis - The Facts
There can be little doubt that fouling of pavements and public places by dogs is something which, quite rightly, annoys the large majority of the public. But, of course, it is not just the fouling itself but the fear of disease which may be passed to humans, particularly children, that worries people most.
Toxocariasis is caused by the roundworm Toxocara canis, present in dogs. Humans can become infected by swallowing toxocara eggs which are found in dog faeces. The life cycle is not completed in people and never results in worms. Freshly deposited faeces pose no threat as the eggs only become infective after about three weeks. If the faeces is cleared immediately there is no danger.
Can children go blind?
Despite scare headlines in the newspapers, blindness or visual impairment from Toxocara infection is possible but exceptional.
How many cases occur in a year?
Cases do occur every year in the UK, although fortunately very few are serious. Many people will have had the infection but will be unaware of it as they have not suffered any serious symptoms. However, even one case is one case too many and with basic hygiene practices, people cleaning up after their dogs and regular worming of dogs and cats, the disease is easily preventable.
Why are children more at risk?
Children, especially toddlers, crawl on grass in gardens and parks. They may pick up the toxocara canis eggs on their hands and then put fingers in their mouths. With proper measures such as cleaning up after dogs in these areas and keeping childrens sandpits covered when not in use etc., the risk would be even less.
It is important that children should be taught to wash their hands regularly after playing with animals and always before eating.
Worms are present in greatest numbers in bitches who are nursing puppies and the puppies themselves. The best way to cut down the amount of eggs is to worm puppies and bitches fortnightly. This should be done from when the puppies are 2-3 weeks old until they reach 6 months with worming preparations from your Vet, the Chemist or Pet Shop. All dogs and cats should be wormed routinely twice a year after that.
We receive many complaints about excessive dog barking that is causing a disturbance. Dogs usually bark because their owners are out and have left them at home alone. They will not usually bark whilst their owner is there, so the owner is usually unaware of the problem. If left on their own for longer periods, some dogs may resort to destructive behaviour and continuous barking or howling.
It is generally better not to keep a dog at home unless there is someone there to look after it, but it is appreciated that people have to work. Dogs are very sociable animals and become distressed if frequently left on their own. However, dogs do get used to a routine and if they have been well exercised before you have to go out for a short period, they may well sleep until you come back.
Dog psychologists have developed occupational toys for dogs, which they claim can keep a bored dog amused. It is also thought that leaving the radio on a station with plenty of talking (at a reasonable volume) keeps a dog occupied. More recent developments include an anti-bark collar which is worn around the dog's neck and releases a spray of lemon mist in front of the dog's nose when it barks. This is harmless to the dog and humans although it distracts the dog and prevents it from barking. It must be stressed that the use of any of these devices must be used correctly and with the advice of a professional.
Dog owners may behave unreasonably, for instance by allowing their dogs to bark all day or night. If the nuisance persists the Council's Environmental Health department may become involved. The Environmental Health service has a duty to investigate complaints about barking dogs. Where the noise proves to cause a statutory nuisance to a neighbour under The Environmental Protection Act 1990, a Notice may be served on the person responsible for the dog or on the owner/occupier of the premises where the nuisance arises. Failure to comply with a Notice requiring the abatement of the noise can result in fines of up to £5000. Alternatively an individual may take private action against a neighbour.
Therefore, we ask dog owners to be considerate to their neighbours and ensure that their dogs do not bark excessively and cause a noise nuisance. Dog training can assist and there are local puppy training courses running in Winchester's District.
If you feel that your dog may be causing a problem with noise and you need advice on possible solutions then contact the Animal Welfare Officer (email@example.com marked FAO Animal Welfare Officer).