Dog walkers outraged by new draconian £100 fines for not having poo bags

Dog walkers could be subject to “stop and search” by a council with the power to fine them £100 if they are not carrying poo bags.

The suggested public space protection order (PSPO) would also limit the number of dogs exercised to four per person and introduce exclusion areas in playgrounds.

Owners could also be fined for not picking up their dog’s poo or for not producing a bag on demand. They could also be fined if their dog is deemed to be acting too aggressively.

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Hammersmith and Fulham council in west London is running a consultation on the potential legislation until January.

The PSPO would give offenders 14 days to pay the fine which would be reduced to £60 if paid within a week and non-payment could result in prosecution.

Assistance dog users would be exempt and the measures will not cover those who have a “reasonable excuse” or those who have certain disabilities.

The requirement contained in a proposed Public Space Protection Order would last for three years and cover all outdoor public areas of land within the borough.

Joanne King, 42, who has been walking dogs professionally for the last six years across the river in Barnes, said: "I do think people should at least have poo bags on them.

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"I am a dog walker, I obviously do carry them. I see so many people that don’t pick up and people I see who have not got a bag.

"It is shocking how many people have their headphones on or are riding a bike and they are way out in front and their dog is taking a crap way back.

"As a law I think it’s going to be a hard one to get policed or even enforce it. People could easily just carry a couple of bags and not pick it up."

Milo Royds, 30, has been a professional dog walker in Hammersmith for eight years. He said it was “a bit over the top” that walkers could be fined for not carrying a poo bag, adding: “There are some times when you just forget to bring a bag out.

“The only thing I worry about is that when these orders come in then more come in later in time and we become like Australia where dogs are not allowed in parks.

“When people have the authority to say get your dog on a lead because it’s acting aggressively, what is acting aggressively? My dogs run around without a lead and people see them as being dangerous, but they are not.

"Someone with a smaller dog may not understand that. People will shout at me because our dogs are playing but they get scared and will shout out saying get your dog away from theirs and I think, why have your dog off a lead if you’re scared?

"People have views on different situations and the person giving the order may not understand when a dog is being aggressive or someone may say it’s being aggressive."

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