Starting in May, Islington’s new dog squad will target irresponsible dog owners who refuse to clean up after their dogs. Offenders who don’t can expect a criminal record and a fixed penalty fine.
The dedicated squad is the largest of its kind in the UK and will be patrolling Islington to catch persistent dog offenders in local hot-spots. Some of the officers will be wearing uniform with the slogan ‘dog squad’. However, others will be patrolling in plain clothing in order to catch those offenders who believe they can dodge getting caught. Officers are due to patrol seven days a week from 6am to 10pm.
“Our residents are sick of the small, selfish number of people who refuse to pick up their dog’s waste,” said Bram Kainth, Islington Council’s director of public realm. “We have ‘zero tolerance’ for anyone caught – they will be fined and if they fail to pay they will be taken to court, as in this case. Our ‘dog squad’ will soon be patrolling the borough – we will be watching out for irresponsible owners, and they will be fined.”
“I think it is disgusting and unhygienic, especially when you have children playing on the few green spaces Islington has left,” said estate agent, Amit Jethwa, 36, who has been working in Islington for the last 20 years. “Islington is a great area, trendy, vibrant and the last thing you want is dog mess.”
Islington council are determined to stamp out the problem and are insisting that owners take proper care of their animals by having plastic bags to clean up after their dogs immediately and dispose of it in the correct dog disposal bins.
The drastic measure comes after a dog walker in October last year allowed her dog to foul in Copenhagen Street and refused to bag and bin it. She was questioned by two Council Officers and given a fixed penalty notice. The careless owner was taken to court after failing to pay the fixed penalty notice. At Highbury Magistrates Court she pleaded guilty and was fined £100, ordered to pay £66 costs and a £15 victim support charge.
Camden resident Dorna Amirpour, 19, said: “To own a dog you must accept the responsibility for everything including its waste. It’s disgusting and out of order, especially when it’s left on the footpath right outside your house.”
A ‘shop a dropper’ campaign has also been established commending the public to ring a hot-line to identify known offenders and identify known dog fouling spots. Careless dog owners can be reported by calling the 24/7 anti-social behaviour online on 020 7527 7272.