DOGS could be banned from parks, pitches, play areas and schools grounds in Monmouthshire, while stricter rules punishing owners who do not pick up mess could be introduced under plans being considered by the council.

The new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which could see dog exclusion areas introduced across the county, require animals to be kept on leads in more areas, and harsher punishments for leaving mess, is being considered by Monmouthshire County Council.

The plan is being considered in an effort to deal with dog fouling in the area. In 2019 the authority received 89 complaints in regard to the issue, and 90 the year before.

Currently, if a dog fouls on designated land in Monmouthshire and the person in charge of it fails to remove the mess, then that person is guilty of an offence unless there’s a reasonable excuse.

A council survey in 2019/20 found that there was dog mess on 16.7 per cent of streets in Monmouthshire, which is the highest on record since 2013/15 and significantly higher than the national average of 8.8 per cent.

The council is considering launching a consultation into the proposals, which would seek the view of stakeholders including the chief of police, elected members, council officers and the general public.

A council report says that the aim of the consultation is “to help ensure there is a balance so that dog owners can enjoy their dogs and ensure their welfare, whilst at the same time others can still enjoy public spaces without interference or impact from dogs and irresponsible dog ownership.”

It adds: “As is the case with the existing order, breach of a PSPO is a criminal offence with a fine liable on prosecution in court of up to £1,000.

“Authorised Officers can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) to offer the recipient the opportunity to discharge liability for the offence.

“FPN levels for breach of a PSPO are £100 payable within 14 days, reduced to £75 if paid within 10 days.”