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Dog Mess Law: Picking Up After Your Dog

The faeces left behind when animals defecate can be a health hazard. As such, dog owners have a legal duty to clean it up in public areas.

As a rule, council fines for dog mess vary from £50 to £80. You can avoid an on-the-spot fine by knowing what is the law on picking up after your dog.

What is UK Law and Fines for Dog Fouling?

Dog fouling is a messy eyesore. Even more importantly, it creates potential hazards for human health (especially for children).

All dog owners have a legal duty to clean up their animal’s faeces immediately after it fouls in certain public areas.

Furthermore, UK dog mess laws do not exempt an owner’s excuse of ‘not noticing’ that their canine has fouled.

Note: Some councils offer free pooper scoopers for this purpose. You can contact the animal warden unit at the local council to check if they are available in your area.

If you need to improvise with a cheap plastic carrier bag, you should dispose of it appropriately. Hence, there will be specific trash containers clearly marked as ‘doggy bins’ in most recreational and public areas.

In case you were wondering:

You can also contact your council if excessive dog mess is littering your street or neighbourhood district. In most cases, they will have it cleaned up if you report a dog fouling problem.

Local authorities must also keep public areas clean of animal excrement. This includes places such as children’s playgrounds, parks, and street pavements.

The Forestry Commission recommends using the stick and flick dog poop method of brushing or sweeping it into nearby undergrowth in a rural field or the countryside (e.g. away from public footpaths).

Important: You should double wrap your doggy bag and dump it in a normal litter bin if you fail to identify any containers specific for the purpose.

Dog Poo Fine in the United Kingdom

Local council regulations vary almost as much as the fines. Thus, some local authorities are stricter than others when handing out dog fouling penalties.

Many enforce a ruling that dog walkers must carry a disposable bag and a poop scoop while walking pet pooches in public places.

What happens if you don’t clean up after your mutt has fouled in a public area? In England and Wales, you can get fined £80 – with a maximum penalty of £1,000 (e.g. if your case goes to court).

The UK dog fouling law, and related fine, does not apply to registered blind dog owners. So, they would not need to clean up ‘guide dog poop’.

Note: Refusing to pay a fixed penalty notice can land you in court where you could get another fine up to £1,000.

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 is law in England and Wales. It revoked the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 and introduced a raft of strict dog control orders.

The act grants councils and local communities greater regulation towards owners of canines and clearing up their dog’s mess.

Moreover, the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 now permits local authorities to make a public spaces protection order (PSPO).

Dog Poo Laws UK: Exemption for Dog Owners

Certain types of exemption exist for selected areas of public land in England and Wales.

As a rule, the primary exemptions relate to:

  • Highways which have speed limits of 50mph or more.
  • Land used for woodlands or agriculture.
  • Parts of rural common land, or that which is mostly marshland, heath land, or moors.
Dog Fouling Laws UK: Picking Up Dog Poop Law in the United Kingdom

Dog Fouling Law (Scotland) Act 2003

The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 enforces the law in Scotland. It is an offence for a person in charge of a hound in a public open space not to clear up after the dog has defecated.

Currently, the maximum fine for the offence in Scotland is £500. Scottish authorities authorise wardens to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for dog mess offences.

Note: Police in Scotland can also issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) which currently stands at £80 (increased from £40).

What is the Law on Cleaning Up Dog Poop in the United Kingdom?