Dog owners in Lichfield and Burntwood could have to prove they have poo bags on them or face fines under new proposals.

Picture: Elliot Brown

Lichfield District Council is consulting over the creation of dog control public spaces protection orders.

The local authority said dog walkers would be expected to carry at least two bags – if they were unable to produce them or refused to show them to an enforcement officer they could face a fine.

The order would require anyone in charge of a dog to clean up and remove any resulting dog mess in a public place.

The proposed protection order would also create ‘dog exclusion zones’, which would ban dogs from being taken into playgrounds, particularly areas designed for younger children.

A spokesperson for Lichfield District Council said:

“We believe this order will help us to keep the district free of dog mess – sadly a tiny minority of dog walkers do not clean up after their pets.

“A district wide public space protection order would require anyone responsible for a dog to have bags with them and clean up any mess and put it in a litter or dog waste bin or take it home if one isn’t available.

“We want to make it clear to dog owners, who lack the common decency to clean up after their pets, that this will not be tolerated.

“We also think children should have space to play and know that some can be scared of dogs.

“This is why we want to bring in exclusion zones that will require anyone in charge of a dog to keep them out of play areas across the district. 

“It would be a criminal offence not to comply with the order, which could result in a fixed penalty of £80 or even lead to a prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”

Lichfield District Council spokesperson

The council said some exclusions to the rules would apply – and urged people to have their say on the plans.

“We would stress that people with disabilities that restrict their sight or mobility are exempt, including pet owners who are registered as blind.

“Before moving ahead with the order, it is important we hear the views of local residents on these proposals.”

Lichfield District Council spokesperson

To find out more and read the draft dog control public space protection order in full, visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/dogcontrolorder. To have your say on the proposals, email comments to pollution@lichfielddc.gov.uk by 5th March.

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12 Comments

  1. So if take 2 poo bags with me and the dog has 2 poos, I throw these into the provided bin. I am then stopped but no longer have a poo bag on me, what happens then?

  2. It’s high time that there was a crackdown on dog walkers. Most are responsible but there are too many people walking 3 or more dogs and there are to many that are out of control. Their owners may think their pet is just being friendly but some of us do not appreciate muddy pawmarks on our clothing or being knocked off our feet as happened to my partner.

  3. So if two bags per dog per walk is deemed an acceptable ratio of bag to poo, and if producing two bags on demand to an enforcement officer is necessary, presumably the best course of action would be to carry four bags per dog per walk just in case the enforcement officer issued the challenge on the inward leg of the walk after said dog had “performed” and the full bags had been deposited in a suitable bin.

    Am I missing the point here? Responsible dog owners normally have pockets full of dog poo bags, and happily hand them over to other responsible dog owners who have been “caught short” on request. Putting in place more rules, without enforcement, will have little impact on those dog owners who do not already carry, and use, bags.

    Carrying dog poo bags is no guarantee of use of dog poo bags…

    Another example of rules for rules’ sake without actually dealing with the problem? Sometimes I despair. See also litter, planning, parking etc etc etc.

  4. I have never understood the disgusting habit some dog walkers have of bagging the dog poo and then hanging it from the nearest tree / shrub like a Christmas tree ornament !
    In this case checking they carry bags is pointless, checking it goes in the bin is better ?

  5. Hi Cdc,

    I understand this usually occurs when the walk is linear, the walker has passed a bin and intend to pick it up and deposit on return, hanging it somewhere to remind them.

    Then forget or take a different return route.

    Of course this is far from ideal but may help with your understanding.

  6. Alex Delarge I would therefore advise such dogwalkers not to hang their dog poo on a tree. Simple. If necessary take a larger bag to carry it in. But for goodness sake it is the dog walker’s responsibility to place their dog poo in the proper bins or take it home with them. I have also seen dog poo bags thrown to the side of the road when out walking. What is the problem with these people. Especially as the dog poo bags I have seen thrown aside are not degradable. Why have dogs if you aren’t willing to take responsibility for them. I would apply the same to those who leave cans and food wrappings by the side of the road. Obviously car owners who have stopped to eat. And they have a car! to transport their rubbish back home. I spoke with a litter picker recently. Neither of us could understand why with so many rubbish bins placed along the pathways some residents still choose to throw their cans or snack packets on the ground. What does it take for anyone to learn that you place rubbish (and dog poo) in the appropriate bins or take it home with you. It isn’t difficult.

  7. BTW. Don’t get me wrong. I am a dog lover hahaha. I’m not talking about the dogs. I think they are absolutely fabulous. And I’m not against cars either. Just the rubbish some drivers leave behind. Thankfully few and rare. I just think it’s upon each of us to care about and look after our environment and play our part. Thankfully again most people do.

  8. That was my understanding, I do not indulge in the practice of poo-bag hanging myself.

    I’m sure there must be a reader who has hung a bag or two at some point, perhaps they could enlighten us?

    Someone once told me they grow from the branches, but I think they might have been taking the mickey.

  9. While we are on the subject perhaps the council would like to consider legislating for all dogs to be under control and on leads in our area. We have 3 dogs. They are always on leads when out for walkies. The number of times they have been attacked or wildly approached by other exhuberant dogs is quite appalling and totally unacceptable. It is the owners legal responsibility to keep their dogs under control. Just think what might happen if they knocked over a little old lady out walking her dog, or a child. If dogs are running around with wild abandon how can their owners know where to pick up their doggies poop. In that scenario the 2 poop bags are of little use.

  10. Reading the draft order it doesn’t stipulate the number of bags just a ‘means of picking up’ (…) or a ‘means to pick up’, copied below.

    Therefore it will be down to interpretation on the numbers of bags, what’s reasonable etc. Theres also nothing in there to say you can’t carry a bag with poo already in it around with you as a means to prove you have the means of picking up. So the simple answer (apart from the obvious of picking up of your dogs mess and taking it with out/putting it in a bin) is when you fear you might run out of bags to carry it with you.

    Where they are missing a trick is rather than simple enforcement measures, use an appropriate escalation route. For example; if your caught without any means to pick up poo that the warden (or nominated officer) can with give you a fixed penally notice or you can buy a roll of poo bags from them (contactless payment), which is going to be less money, work for the council (in appeals etc) than an enforcement notice. This could be at a marked up price with the difference between the retail and cost price to go to support paying for more poo bins / emptying of them (which is another issue in that they, like other bins, are not emptied as regally for the current volume levels).

    This could be a first offence and should help to change attitudes which is to pick up poo / bring bags with you, rather than just leave it and take the fine, which wouldn’t change a habit of taking a poo bag or remove any mess left.

    In context, yes I have a dog and yes I pick up its poo and I (like many other owners) always have plenty of spare bags on me so if someone else is caught short just ask.

    Citation from https://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/downloads/file/1798/public-spaces-protection-order-dog-control-2021
    Dog fouling
    5. A person in charge of a dog in any public place within the area of Lichfield District
    Council must forthwith clear up and remove any faeces deposited by the dog and
    either take away the faeces or place the faeces in a general litter or dog waste bin.
    6. A person in charge of a dog in any public place within the area of Lichfield District
    Council must have with them an appropriate means to pick up dog faeces that may be deposited by that dog. The obligation is complied with if, after request from an authorised officer, the person in charge of the dog produces an appropriate means to pick up dog faeces from their person.

  11. Hi Mark, thanks for the comment.

    We have clarified on social media that while the consultation doesn’t list specifics we have outlined in our stories, an LDC spokesperson had confirmed the following to us:

    “As a rule of thumb, dog walkers would be expected to carry at least two bags that can be used to dispose of dog mess”

  12. I have recently been in contact with LDC, to request extra “dog bins” on popular dog walking area’s in Burntwood, and they have reacted positively with a site visit and new bins ordered, where needed.
    Under the new LDC order, there was one particular point I am more cynical about:
    The council said some exclusions to the rules would apply – and urged people to have their say on the plans.

    “We would stress that people with disabilities that restrict their sight or mobility are exempt, including pet owners who are registered as blind.
    With the obvious exemption of the blind, does the restricted mobility point leave a gaping hole in the order? Based on how easily car disabled badges are dished out, does that not mean you just carry your “dizzy” badge with you and whip it out when challenged by an LDC officer or responsible dog owner for not clearing up after your dog?
    But I bet they could bend down and pick up that £20 note they just dropped…….

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