Questions have been raised regarding how the Isle of Wight Council plans to enforce the new dog rules — after it is revealed only 20 penalties have been issued since 2014.
New Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) have been announced by the council — combining the no longer enforceable dog control orders that state where dogs can run off leads, general fouling laws and exclusion zones on the Island including beaches and recreation grounds.
Currently, dogs are allowed to run free at a number of areas where new restrictions could be introduced — including St Helens Duver, Clatterford Recreation Ground in Carisbrooke, Wootton Recreation Ground and East Cowes Esplanade.
However, clarification of the proposed changes will not be released until the consultation begins in January — so the true effect of changes remains unknown.
The Council has said any possible alterations have stemmed from comments made by key stakeholders and concerned residents.
However, since 2015, only 20 penalties have been issued by the council’s Enforcement Team — 19 dog fouling and one dog of the lead offences.
In the last year no penalties have been issued by the five full-time environment officers who patrol the Island — compared to three in 2018, five in 2017, seven in 2016 and four in 2015.
A ‘fixed penalty notice’ is given to anyone who commits an offence, that can be issued on the spot or by post and fines the recipients £50.
An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said:
“The dog control orders and the PSPOs that will replace them let dog owners know what is expected of them and their pets.
“Because the vast majority of dog owners are responsible people who comply with the law without needing to be fined, the number of penalties issued does not have any direct link to how people are behaving, for example whether people are picking up after their dogs or not.”
The council has also said no significant staffing changes will be required to continue to monitor and enforce the orders in the same way — despite more potential areas to patrol.
Environment officers also conduct health and safety inspections of public facilities, including parks and toilets, and monitor and resolve waste management issues.
Mark Chiverton, Unison representative at the council, has said that while most of the changes remain unknown, they will be watching carefully as it develops.
“The environmental officer has a busy job with vast responsibilities so we will be watching carefully.”
A consultation on the proposed orders will start in January but no official date has been announced yet.