Is dog fouling making a mess of your area? Report it.

Are you annoyed that some dog owners don't take responsibility for cleaning up after their dogs - endangering public health and putting children at risk? Report dog fouling to our dog wardens in confidence and you can make a difference. All you need to do is provide the following details:

  • date, time and place of the offence
  • a description of the owner and the dog, and, if you know it,
  • the name and address of the dog owner, or their car registration number.

Either email: environmentalprotect@chichester.gov.uk, or call 01243 785166 with this information and we'll help you.

It's the law to pick up after your dog

  • If a dog fouls in a public place, by law, the owner or the person in charge of the dog at the time must clean up after it. Burying or covering it up is not sufficient; it must be removed.
  • It is also the law that you cannot litter in a public place. Therefore, bags containing dog waste must not be left behind on your walk. The person in charge of the dog must put the dog waste in a bag, tie it tightly and place it in a dog bin or public refuse bin, or take it home.
  • If you break the law you will be fined.
  • People with certain registered disabilities, such as blind people, are not required to clean up after their dogs.

Dog fouling and littering can prove costly

If witnessed and reported, offenders face a fixed penalty fine of:

  • £100 for failing to clean up and pick up after your dog. This is reduced to £75 if paid within 14 days.
  • An additional £75 for littering. This is reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

If fines are not paid then you may be taken to court and if found guilty of an offence, the maximum penalty on conviction is:

  • £1,000 for dog fouling, and
  • £2,500 for littering

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is also an offence to allow large quantities of dog waste to accumulate in your garden. Small amounts of dog waste can be disposed of in domestic refuse, as long as they are in a sealed bag.

What is the impact of not clearing up after my dog?

  • If not cleared up immediately, dog waste can infect soil and sand with a variety of worms than can be passed to humans, especially children, and cause illness- even blindness. These include tapeworm, hookworm, whipworm and roundworm.
  • Dog waste left on the beaches also affects the quality and safety of the bathing water. Not only is it unpleasant to find dog mess in the sea, but the harmful bacteria in it can make those swimming and paddling sick.
  • Dogs can become infected with Neospora after eating the afterbirth of an infected cow. If an infected dog's waste is left in fields it can also pass worms and parasites to sheep and cattle causing them to miscarry. So it is vital that dog owners pick up after their dogs when walking pets on farmland. The disease - Neosporosis is also dangerous to dogs, causing illness and sometimes death in young puppies.
  • Leaving behind dog waste in plastic bags also affects wildlife and livestock in the countryside and the sea.
  • Dog waste also has a detrimental effect on local water tables, contaminating rivers, ponds and drinking water.

As a dog owner what can I do to help?

  • Keep your dog thoroughly wormed all year round.
  • Always pick up after your dog.
  • Encourage others to clean up after their dogs.
  • Carry an extra bag to offer to other dog walkers.
  • Dispose of your collected dog waste responsibly. Either put it in a bin or take it home.
  • Use environmentally friendly poo bags.

Dog fouling myths

1. I don't have to pick it up

Yes, you do - unless you have a registered disability. Failing to pick up your dog's mess is an offence. The council can serve a Fixed Penalty Notice allowing the offender to pay a £100 fine or can prosecute in the Magistrates' Court with a maximum fine of £1,000.

2. Once the waste has been bagged it can be discarded

No it can't. It is astonishing that people take the trouble to bag dog waste and then throw it in a hedge, a tree or on the ground. This is a littering offence and liable to the same penalties as above.

3. More dog waste bins would solve the problem

It is not uncommon to see dog fouling very close to the bins. In our experience people are either "picker uppers" or they are not - the presence of a bin makes no difference as they seem to think they are above the law. The council provides over 300 across the district. However, if there isn't a dog bin or a litter bin nearby then take the waste home and dispose of it within your household refuse.

4. It's only the same as cow or horse manure

No it isn't. Dog mess is much more dangerous and can, for example, cause toxocariasis which can cause damage to the eye and, in some cases, blindness. Young children will be more at risk as they are more likely to come into contact with the faeces and not realise the dangers. Dogs can become infected with Neospora after eating the afterbirth of an infected cow. If an infected dog's waste is left in fields it can also pass worms and parasites to sheep and cattle causing them to miscarry.

5. More fines should be issued

To issue a fine an offence has to be witnessed and the offender identified. If a council officer such as a Dog Warden sees the offence it will be followed up - however, they cannot be everywhere all the time. If members of the public see an offence, can identify the offender and are willing to provide good evidence in the form of a simple witness statement, then the council will issue a fine based on that evidence.

6. It's better to 'stick and flick' in the countryside

The South Downs National Park recommends that the best way to dispose of dog waste is to put it in the bin. Flicking your dog waste onto the verges still results in contamination of the land and water table. It also still smells and contains worms and diseases. Thousands of people walk their dogs in the countryside every day. Think about how much dog waste that generates...

7. The sea will wash away my dog's waste away

Dog waste left on the beaches affects the quality and safety of the bathing water. Not only is it unpleasant to find dog mess in the sea, but the harmful bacteria in it can make those swimming and paddling sick. Dog poo wrapped in plastic bags discarded by dog walkers can also affect marine life due to the amount of time it takes the plastic bags to break down.

8. I can't use public bins to dispose of my dog's waste bags

If in doubt, take your dog's waste home with you. However, if there is not a dog waste bin to hand, please dispose of it in the nearest public bin.