A local resident Mr Ian Norton is proposing a scheme which could help tackle the growing and now highly-publicised problem of dog faeces on the pavements of Penarth .
Three years ago Mr Norton first floated out the idea of setting up a dog-DNA database which would hold the genetic code of every licensed dog . When dog faeces are found on pavements, the material could then be analysed and could immediately identify the dog – and the dog-owner – responsible .
A pilot scheme to test dog DNA has now begun – appropriately enough – in the London Borough of Barking. Samples of dog poo are being collected over a period of three months to be checked against a local database of registered animals and their owners and establish whether its being primarily caused by people who have not registered their pets.
Here in Penarth, a graphic campaign on Twitter has produced stomach-churning photographs day-after-day of dog-faeces left on public pavements in Penarth.
As of this week there is also now a new improved version of the “Poonarth” website [www.poonarth.com] first launched in mid December which pinpoints the locations of dog mess across the town as it’s discovered – or is inadvertently stepped upon – by subscribers and followers. The site now includes what’s called a “heatmap” identifying the worst-affected areas.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council is responsible for controlling dogs – and cleaning up dog-mess – in Penarth. The council introduced “Control of Dogs By-Laws” some time ago and promised it would “will improve the cleanliness of the Vale by reducing dog fouling.” – but there’s little evidence that the by-laws, or their enforcement, are having any effect .
The Vale Council however claims that its actions have had an effect and boasts that it enforcement of the Dogs (Fouling of Land) legislation has resulted in only 14 on-the-spot fines being imposed [ the Vale council doesn’t say how many of these were in Penarth].
That paltry number of fines in the Vale however pales into insignificance alongside the much tougher line being taken by Blaenau Gwent Council which has hired a private company to crack down on irresponsible dog-owners . In Blaenau Gwent the number of fines imposed in just one year has soared from 10 to 1,099.
Meanwhile, here in Penarth, Mr Ian Norton, who lives in Penarth Marina, is renewing pressure for the introduction of the DNA database scheme which he first mooted in 2013 when he launched a public petition to force action from the Vale Council.
Mr Norton says “My proposal is that if every dog had a DNA sample taken and held in a central database, then whatever the situation, be it lost, stolen, found, attacking other dogs or people, or fouling, a swab of the animal, its faeces, or from the savaged animal/human, would immediately expose all necessary information relating to the dog and owner.” The entire cost of such a scheme he says “should be borne by the owner/breeder”.