Warrington Dog Owners Encouraged To Have Their Say On Dog Fouling

The UK's largest dog welfare organisation, the Kennel Club, is encouraging dog owners in Warrington to have their say on dog fouling in the area, as Warrington Borough Council runs a survey to better understand the scale of the issue and to determine if further action is needed to address it.

As well as attempting to obtain views on dog fouling in general, the survey aims to determine if the public believes some form of compulsory dog registration system is necessary.

The Kennel Club's campaign group, KC Dog, is alerting its members and local dog owners to the survey to ensure that any outcome is as fair as possible for all parties.

Whilst the Kennel Club supports proactive efforts on behalf of local authorities to encourage responsible dog ownership, particular measures such as the compulsory registration of dogs could see responsible owners being penalised unfairly and could result in a largely unenforceable, unnecessary tax on responsible owners.

The Kennel Club does not support the compulsory registration of dogs and believes that such a scheme would result in the low compliance rates that existing registration systems have seen, such as those in Ireland and Northern Ireland, which have compliance rates of only 30 to 40 per cent, despite revenue being generated through the schemes to help pay for their enforcement.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "We are concerned that certain questions in Warrington Borough Council's survey allude to the possibility that they may propose a dog registration system that relies on dogs' DNA.  We know from dog licensing, which was abolished in England in 1987, that this would mean additional cost to responsible dog owners, whilst the irresponsible minority would continue to flout the law.

"In order to make any public consultation effective, even at the informal stages, there should be a certain level of transparency, but Warrington Borough Council does not seem to be being particularly forthcoming about their intentions.

"We can all agree that dog mess is unpleasant, but we would be concerned if the council tries to force Warrington's dog owners, the vast majority of whom are perfectly responsible and always pick up after their dogs, to register their dogs and pay for their pet's DNA profile, when there are a number of alternatives for dealing with dog fouling, such as community engagement events, awareness raising campaigns and the promotion of responsible dog ownership, all of which we would be very happy to discuss with the council.

"In its survey the council seems to be putting forward the merits of a dog registration system, such as access to information about the breed of a dog and about the health profile of a breed of dog, for an additional cost, but these are things that are already available through other avenues that do not involve compulsory registration.

"We would encourage as many people as possible to have their say on the issue so that the council can make as fair an assessment as possible, to help ensure that any future decisions are made in the best interests of all parties."

The council's survey on dog fouling will close on Sunday 1 May 2016 and can be found at www.warrington.gov.uk/consultations.