Greenwich Council's Dog Control Plans: A Dogs Breakfast

Greenwich Conservatives recently revealed the failure of the Labour Council’s dog control orders.

In figures received as a result of a Freedom of Information request from Conservative Leader Cllr Spencer Drury, it is clear that:-

  • No fines have ever been issued by Greenwich Council for dogs fouling the pavement, parks or woodlands.
  • No fines or warnings have ever been given for dog owners breeching the dog control orders in parks, woodlands or other open spaces – only on roads have any dog control orders been enforced.
  • Under the borough wide ‘dog control orders’ introduced in September 2009 only three fines have been issued (and these only for not having a dog on a lead) and none of these had been paid by the end of November.  In fact only two fines have ever been paid in more than two years of this scheme and its pilot.

Labour decided in 2008 to implement ‘dog control orders’ in certain set areas across the borough, and a year later extended this to cover the whole borough.  The plan was to fine owners for allowing their dogs to foul  Greenwich’s parks, woodland and commons without clearing it up. The extended plan banned dog owners from allowing their dogs:

  • To foul green spaces across the borough.
  • Off the lead in all pavements and some green spaces
  • To walk more than four dogs in any place in Greenwich.

In September 2009 Leader of Greenwich Conservatives Spencer Drury queried whether the expansion across the borough was fully justified as there was little evidence that the existing orders had been effective.  This summer, Councillors quizzed the Cabinet member in charge about how many Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) had been issued since the scheme was expanded. They were assured that penalty notices had happened and the figures to prove this would be circulated.  Following a dispute about the amount of fines issued, Cllr Drury made his Freedom of Information request.

Spencer says:  “Despite my clear warnings that this whole system was pointless if it was not going to be properly enforced, the Labour Council seems to have treated this as little more than some cheap headlines. 

“No one has ever been fined for their dog fouling anywhere in the borough, which at least explains why the parks, woodlands and many pavements are still blighted by dog faeces.  Dogs being off the lead is the least of my concerns, but this is the only area where the Council seems happy to fine owners.  Dogs being out of control and fouling public areas are what we should be dealing with and clearly this dog’s dinner of a system is doing nothing to deal with these problems.”

“This council seems to love concreting over green spaces but has not the first clue how to care for our woodlands and open spaces.  Labour are not dealing with the real problem of Dog fouling which  really bothers people, including other responsible dog owners like myself.  This Council’s bark is definitely worse than its bite.”

Eltham resident and dog owner, Mike Dawes said “I haven’t seen any enforcement of these by-laws.  I don’t see anyone walking round enforcing them and so there is a blatant disregard for the rules about clearing up after dogs or limits on dog walkers.  I saw one man with 10 dogs in Oxleas Woods last weeks – it is simply a joke.”