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Pet owners could be subject to ‘stop and search’ for dog bags by London council

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 25/11/2022 India McTaggart
Council wardens could approach and challenge owners on whether they have the ‘means to pick up’ after their dogs - Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images © Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images Council wardens could approach and challenge owners on whether they have the ‘means to pick up’ after their dogs - Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images

Dog walkers could be subject to a “stop and search” by a London council to get frisked for bags used to pick up dog mess.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council in west London revealed it is considering fining people £100 if they are not carrying bags to collect after their pets on a walk.

The council is running a consultation on the potential legislation until January, but it wouldn’t be the first time the policy has been implemented.

As well as the fine for not collecting after their pets, the suggested Public Space Protection Order would also limit the number of dogs that can be walked to four per person and enable council officers to order the use of leads in places like cemeteries.

Owners could also be fined if their dog is deemed to be acting too aggressively by the officers.

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

The requirements contained in the proposal would last for three years and cover all outdoor public areas of land within the London borough.

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

This summer, Rushcliffe Borough Council in Nottinghamshire introduced a rule to penalise dog owners who “flout the rules” by not carrying bags.

The new powers mean council wardens are now permitted to approach and challenge owners on whether they have the “means to pick up” after their dogs and if not, they can be fined £100.

This followed similar rules brought in by councils in Somerset, Devon, Lancashire and Derbyshire.

Some west London residents said the changes might be positive after the city became “overpopulated with dogs since Covid”, however, not everyone welcomed the ideas.

Milo Royds, who has been a professional dog walker in Hammersmith for eight years, deemed the proposals “a bit over the top”, saying: “There are some times when you just forget to bring a bag out.”

He added that the part of the order that concerned him most is that it might enable councils to legislate more stringently about dog walking in the future.

‘What is acting aggressively?’

Mr Royds said: “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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