‘Zero tolerance’ on stray dogs say council

A stray dog
A stray dog

A new zero tolerance approach to straying dogs is being introduced by the council.

A fixed penalty of £80 will now be issued from the first instance of straying with the opportunity to pay a reduced fee of £50 if paid to the council within 14 days.

Of the 744 stray and unwanted dogs impounded last year across the borough, nearly 400 of those were lifted from the Craigavon area.

The recent change to the enforcement policy encourages dog owners to be more vigilant with their pets reducing the number of stray dogs on the streets and tackling the issue of dog fouling on our pavements and open areas. Straying or unaccompanied dogs can foul and create problems.

Last year, 46 dog owners in the Craigavon area were issued with fixed penalty notices for repeatedly allowing their dogs to stray, with a number being referred to the courts following non payment of the fixed penalty fee.

To date, fines of up to £100 have been issued by Craigavon Magistrates’ Court with dog owners facing an additional payment of over £100 in legal and court costs.

Since April 1 this year 29 dog owners in the Craigavon area have already been issued with fixed penalties for allowing their dogs to stray so it is important that owners ensure that their dogs are kept under control.

Council is also reminding dog owners that it is their responsibility to micro-chip and license their dogs.

Micro-chip details should be kept up to date by the owner so that if their dog is lost, it can be quickly identified and returned to them. The owners of unlicensed dogs may also face fixed penalty fines or prosecution through the courts.

When the dog wardens come across stray dogs they will try and return them to the owners if the dogs have been micro-chipped. Those that cannot be returned because their owner cannot be contacted or the wrong details are recorded on the microchip will be taken to the kennels.

If not reclaimed, the dog will remain at the kennels for five days after which it will be placed for re-homing or sent to an animal sanctuary.

To reclaim a dog from kennels the owner will have to pay the kennel fees and any veterinary costs incurred. A fixed penalty notice of £80 will also be issued.

The council’s Dog Control Enforcement Policy can be viewed on the website at www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk.

What are your views on the stray dog policy? Send us your views to news@portadowntimes.co.uk or text to 84555, staring with PTTEXT