The council’s Environmental Health department is taking a new “zero tolerance approach” to straying dogs.
A fixed penalty of £80 will now be issued from the first instance of straying with a reduced fee of £50 if paid 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 onr 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.
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 if the dogs have been micro-chipped. Those that cannot be returned because their owner cannot be contacted 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.