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,


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

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