Dog owners at risk of extra fines in Sandwell as council extends public space protection orders

Sandwell Council has extended several public space protection orders (PSPOs) - and one affects dog owners
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Dog owners could now be fined for forgetting to take poo bags on walks.

Sandwell Council has extended several public space protection orders (PSPOs) across the borough – which gives the authority the power to punish dog owners for failing to clean up after their pets as well as hand out fines for not having a poo bag readily available.

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The council can also now hand out fines to people starting BBQs and fires in public spaces and has renewed its street-drinking bans. The plans to extend the orders were backed by Sandwell Council’s cabinet on February 7.

The council can already fine dog owners £100 for failing to pick up their dog’s mess with a maximum penalty of £1,000 if the case went to court. These powers would be extended to those dog owners unable to show they have a poo bag or other “receptacle” to clean it up.

The new public space protection orders (PSPOs) would also make it an offence to let dogs into children’s play areas. A ban on fires and BBQs in parks and other public spaces will also come into force next month with those ignoring the ban also facing fines.

Dog ownersDog owners
Dog owners

At the cabinet meeting on February 7, Cllr Bob Piper said the public space protection orders often shifted the responsibility from the police to the council and would require “proper enforcement” to be effective. 

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Indeed, only a handful of fines have been handed out to ‘nuisance’ street drinkers and inconsiderate dog owners – despite the council looking to give itself extra powers to hand out more punishments.

The council has only handed out 13 fines in the last three years under current public space protection orders (PSPOs) – saying it chooses to use its powers to educate rather than punish.

Earlier this month, the move was scrutinised by councillors who were concerned the powers would be extended without the council having enough people to enforce them. The council admitted it ‘did not always have the resources to enforce’ and it had been taking a less heavy hand with wrongdoers.

There is already a borough-wide ban which gives powers to the council and police to tell people to stop drinking in public places and confiscate alcohol if they are concerned about anti-social behaviour. Failing to do so could land offenders with a maximum fine of £500.

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The public space protection orders last for three years before they have to be renewed. The council’s bans on dog fouling and street drinking came into force in 2017 and are up for renewal with a third order on BBQs and fires in public spaces set to be assessed by councillors.

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