The plan announced by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to offer council tax rebates to people who gave evidence leading to a conviction in court cases where dog owners didn't clear up their dog's poo was declared to be illegal at a meeting of the the Council's Neighborhood Services Committee last night. Cabinet Member Steve Mumby gave the meeting this information as part of a response to a 'call-in motion' from the Liberal Democrats which was proposed by Lib Dem Leader Cllr Richard Kemp.
Cllr Mumby made clear that although the council would look at some sort of financial incentives the Mayor's suggestion was illegal because it is against the law to encourage people to give testimony in court because it could be seen as an inducement.
In moving the motion which asked for a full report to be represented on the scheme before it was put into practice Cllr Kemp said, "We have no objection to the principle of charges and fixed penalty notices etc and agree that we need to act on dog fouling and littering but we believe that this idea is impractical and incapable of delivery." Most of the people who allow their dogs to foul are people with whom most members of the public would not want mix. The idea that they would go to court to give evidence about people who live in their own community was always highly fanciful.
What we need to deal with this matter is firm action and not gimmicks. Any money spent on this type of action would be better spent on dog wardens who could give fixed penalty notices and are trained to stand up to abusive people and often poorly controlled dogs".
Speaking after the meeting Cllr Kemp said, "I was amazed that so many headlines had been generated by the Mayor of Liverpool about a policy that is incapable of implementation because it is illegal. He makes a laughing stock of both the himself and the City when he does so. People living in areas beset with dog poo need action not headlines. I am very pleased that the Cabinet Member agreed to bring back a full report before any incentive schemes are introduced. That way we all know the costs, the practicality and the legality of any scheme and politicians take full responsibility for the proposals".