Dog owners who fail to clean up after their dogs foul public land should face strong action.
That’s the view of Uckfield town councillors who labelled the state of some areas in and near the town as “appalling” and “disgusting”.
Members agreed to support an extension of Wealden District Council’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for dog fouling.
PSPO’s are valid for three years and the district is consulting on continuing the order which makes if an offence for anyone in control of a dog not to clean up the animal’s faeces on designated land.
If the order is breached, a fixed penalty notice can be issued which if unpaid can lead to prosecution where the maximum fine is £1,000.
Cllr Chris Macve said he had visited the district-council run park at Horsted Green, built as part of the Ridgewood Farm 1,000 homes development to try and reduce the numbers of people visiting the Ashdown Forest to walk their dogs.
He said: “I was there at the end of last week. It was absolutely disgusting with the amount of dog faeces scattered about everywhere.
“It is appalling.
“People obviously just take their dogs up there, kick them out of the car, let them go and foul all over the place and take them away.
“Much stronger enforcement should be brought to bear there and Wealden need to go there and apprehend a lot of these people that are causing the problem.
Cllr Karen Bedwell said the situation was also appalling around the Harlands Estate.
“It is on the fields, it is on the pavements, it is everywhere,” she said.
The town council needed to think about how it could support attempts to monitor the situation.
It was a disgusting health hazard, she said, and something needed to be done to connect with the people causing the problem.
Cllr Duncan Bennett predicted the situation would probably get worse before it got better with the loss of dog walking amenities around the town, mentioning the closure of fields near the Framfield Stream and River Uck.
Cllr Ben Cox said it was disgraceful that some people picked up the faeces but then left the poo bags on the ground.
Cllr James Edwards said Wealden needed to make the wording tougher and tell people that if they were caught it could cost them £1,000.
Town mayor, Cllr Spike Mayhew, said since lockdown many more people had dogs to go out and walk them.
He believed people knew they had to “pick up” and now was the time for strong warnings.
“I think if we can put a statement out from the council, saying it will not be accepted, that would help,” he said.
Cllr Angie Smith said there were only two dog poo bins at Horsted Green, although that was not an excuse, but suggested a third should be provided.
She said Wealden needed to carry out patrols to enforce the PSPO.
“If a patrol person is seen even once or twice, it is going to be a visible deterrent to get people to do the right thing,” she said.