Thursday, 25 April 2013

Local paper the Rugby Observer publishes my letter about Tory Rugby Borough Councillor's surreal response to my proposal to tackle dog poo/litter

Viewable online here.




Dear Sir,

In your article ('Calls for a dog poo team to take action', 18/04/13) you quote Tory Borough Councillor Mark Williams dismissing my proposal to tackle littering and dog-fouling by employing more wardens with enforcement powers (on short-term contracts), on the grounds that “if we were to succeed in deterring people from allowing their animals to foul, there would be no fines issued and no income to pay for the policy."

This surreal response is tantamount to saying: "if this policy were to succeed, we would deem it a failure." This is yet more evidence that the Conservatives who run our Council are not only lacking in logic but are also defeatist when it comes to taking action to improve the quality of life enjoyed by the majority of law-abiding residents.

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger
Vice-Chair, Rugby Labour Party


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Local paper, Rugby Observer, publishes article about my campaign urging Rugby Borough Council to be more robust against littering and dog-fouling

The article in the Rugby Observer, can be read here.

My recent letter in the Rugby Advertiser newspaper, also on dog-fouling and litter, can be read here.

Previous letters to local newspapers can be read here.

Text of article:

The Rugby Observer, Thursday April 18 2013
CALLS FOR A DOG POO TEAM TO TAKE ACTION
By Dan Santy
ONE man fed up with the scourge of dog fouling has proposed the borough council creates a new team to tackle the problem.
King Edward Road resident John Slinger wants to see part-time jobs given to people who would be tasked with patrolling the streets and fining those who fail to pick up after their pets.
It comes in response to what he calls the ‘laughable’ number of fines issued by Rugby Borough Council for dog fouling over the past year - thought to be less than 20.
Currently the council relies heavily on people reporting irresponsible dog owners to them but admits not enough people do this for it to have a strong impact.
A council spokesman said the problem is dog owners have to be caught in the act to be fined, meaning there would need to be a huge number of people patrolling in order to achieve any sort of significant rise.
But Mr Slinger said the council needed to send a message and could try hiring people on a short-term basis to show it is serious about clamping down on what he calls anti-social behaviour.
“At present, dog foulers are clearly not deterred at all by the so-called enforcement of these laws. Yet if I were to walk into the town centre and personally go to the toilet on a pavement, I would rightly be arrested, possibly sectioned and almost definitely imprisoned,” he said.
“All too often, residents of our central Rugby street are greeted with piles of dog mess on the footpaths. Not only is this visually disgusting, but it poses a health hazard.
“I know the council has a dog policy and employs wardens, and I am sure they work hard. However, the approach seems to be too reactive and insufficiently proactive.
“It is important the onus is not placed primarily on law abiding residents to tackle this problem, but that enforcement powers already in existence are deployed against those irresponsible members of the community whose anti-social behaviour infringes on our enjoyment of this great town.”
But Rugby Borough Council environment spokesman Coun Mark Williams dismissed Mr Slinger’s idea. He said: “It is quite obvious that Mr Slinger’s expensive policy of recruiting an army of dog wardens would never work as we wouldn’t be able to cover the whole of the borough, and offences often take place after dark or early in the morning.
“If we were to succeed in deterring people from allowing their animals to foul, there would be no fines issued and no income to pay for the policy. We will not be that reckless.
“What does work is responsible dog ownership, and good intelligence from members of the public. Residents can let us have information by filling in the form at www.rugby.gov.uk/dogfouling.”
Pet owners caught letting their dogs foul without clearing up after them can be fined on the spot.
Penalties range from small amounts to as much as £1,000 if cases go to court.

 

Monday, 8 April 2013

Letter in local Rugby Advertiser newspaper: Loutish litterers and foul dog-foulers


Published in the Rugby Advertiser newspaper (Warwickshire) on 28 March 2013.

Dear Sir,

DOG FOULING: WE SHOULDN'T TOLERATE THIS BEHAVIOUR

This morning I was greeted by two huge piles of dog mess on my central Rugby street. Not only is this visually disgusting, but it poses a health hazard to the many children nearby (we are near a primary school). I tweeted the image to Rugby Borough Council and asked whether they have a plan and how many people they have fined for this offence this year. The Council's initial response, on Twitter, was to ask me to tell them who is responsible so that they can then take action.

Not only is this 'after the horse has bolted', but it is 'after the dog has fouled'! I responded that I have no idea who is responsible as I don't spend my entire day and night watching the street outside my house, nor do I deploy CCTV. I know that the Council has a dog policy, employs Dog Wardens and Community Safety Wardens, and I am sure that they work hard. However, the Council's approach seems to be too reactive and insufficiently proactive.

Anyone walking around central Rugby's residential areas knows that dog poo and litter blights our streets. It is important that the onus is not placed primarily on law-abiding residents to tackle this problem, but that enforcement powers already in existence are deployed against those irresponsible members of the community whose anti-social behaviour infringes on our enjoyment of this great town. Even at this time of austerity, surely young school-leavers, graduates and unemployed people could be employed as council officers with the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for dog-fouling and littering? Given the extent of the problem, they would be self-financing. By issuing hundreds or even thousands of FPNs, word would soon spread that Rugby's community doesn't tolerate such anti-social behaviour.

Yours sincerely,

John Slinger
Vice-Chair, Rugby Labour Party




Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Labour candidate in Warwickshire County Council election, May 2013




In May 2013 I was Labour's candidate for Warwickshire County Council in Earl Craven division.
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