Ruff justice? Errant Leeds dog owners and litter bugs face tougher on-the-spot fines

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Leeds City Council is dishing out a dose of ruff and tough justice to irresponsible dog owners.

The authority is reducing its early payment discounts for on-the-spot fines.

It currently offers a discount of a third on its £75 FPN (fixed penalty notices) for dog fouling, dropping litter and other indiscretions, meaning people can pay £50 within a fortnight.

But errant citizens will now have to cough up £60 in 14 days or pay the full £75.

A report just approved by senior council officers says: “Councils have powers to tackle littering and dog fouling by the use of FPNs which are issued to people who drop litter or allow their dogs to foul without removing it.

“The imposition of an FPN is an alternative to court action and allows the resolution of the issue upon payment of a standard fee.

“To encourage early repayment we have traditionally offered a discount of 33 per cent. Last year 58 per cent of recipients elected to pay early.

“The council continues to face a challenging financial environment and the intention to reduce the early payment discount has been incorporated into the council’s financial plans for 16/17.”

In Leeds last year, 4,400 FPNS were issued. The council employs a private firm to hand out fines in the city centre. The company issued 90 per cent of all fines last year.

The changes will bring an estimated £25,000 a year into the council’s coffers.

The authority admits there is “a slight risk” that the move could lead to more prosecutions. This in itself could prove counterproductive, as “unfortunately fines paid as a result of a successful prosecution accrue to central Government and not the council”.