FIGURES for dog fouling fines issued by the county council in the west of Northumberland have been revealed over the last five years.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by The Hexham Courant to Northumberland County Council revealed only six fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued by the council since 2019.

Two fines were issued in Hexham in 2019, one was issued in Prudhoe in 2020, two were issued in Ponteland and West Woodburn in 2021 and none were issued in 2022.

Only one FPN was issued in 2023, which was in Haltwhistle.

READ MORE: Northumberland found to be one of the worst places for dog fouling in the UK

If you're found to have not cleaned up after your dog, you will receive a fixed penalty notice of £100. If you do not pay within 14 days, you will be prosecuted.

Derek Kennedy, mayor of Hexham, said: "The numbers show the system of issuing penalty notices is not working. Local authorities were given the responsibility to issue those notices and I know it is difficult to pinpoint consistent offenders, but the numbers show the issue is not being taken seriously. Over the last few years, dog walkers have become a lot more responsible, but you still see dog dirt around town and other parts of Tynedale." 

The figures were revealed as the county council announced it wants town and parish councils or local dog walking clubs to get in touch who may be interested in hosting Green Dog Walker events in the Tynedale area.

The community-led programme aims to reduce dog fouling by promoting responsible dog ownership across Northumberland. 

Residents who sign up for the scheme pledge to always clean up after their dog, bin the bag and encourage other dog walkers to do the same.

Northumberland County Councillor Gordon Stewart, cabinet member with responsibility for Looking after our Communities, said the council hopes more members sign up for the scheme this year.

“Failing to clean up after your dog is not only unpleasant but dog dirt can carry serious diseases which can cause blindness and liver disorders, and children are the most susceptible.   
“We work hard to educate the public on responsible dog ownership and our commitment to effective enforcement will continue with patrols in problem areas across Northumberland and the issue of fixed penalty notices. 

“Green Dog Walkers is intended to be a friendly and non-confrontational approach to changing attitudes about dog fouling in Northumberland in a positive and friendly way.” 

Angie Scott, County Councillor for Prudhoe North, commented: “Talking to residents of Prudhoe, dog fouling is consistently in the top two or three complaints that they raise. Whilst most dog owners are law-abiding and responsible, there is a significant minority who think it’s acceptable to leave dog mess on our streets and parks.

"This is not only unpleasant but also represents a potential health hazard. Until the county council takes this issue seriously and shows a willingness to enforce the law with fixed penalty notices for offenders, this will continue to be a problem in our town.”

Northumberland County Council was contacted for comment.