In what has been called a “pooper snooper” scheme, Liverpool’s mayor has proposed a reward of a year’s free council tax for anyone who provides photo or video evidence of a pet owner failing to clean up their dog’s mess.
The city’s Labour mayor Joe Anderson said the tax break reward for evidence leading to a successful conviction of the dog owner could also be given to anyone informing the authorities about the identity of repeat offenders.
He has asked for a report examining how the reward scheme could be implemented to be supplied to him within a month.
The Liverpool Echo reported that Mr Anderson told a city council cabinet meeting he was “appalled” by the amount of dog mess he encountered in some areas.
“In certain parts of Liverpool,” he said, “you step out of your car and you are hit by the smell of it – it is totally unacceptable.
“That is why I am saying that if you provide us with identity of someone who allows their dogs to foul on the streets and doesn’t clear it up and that leads to a prosecution, then we will give you your council tax for free.
“It will be cost neutral for us because we will be able to fine these people the maximum amount.”
“We have got to try and restore some pride in our city,” he added. “These people are not your neighbours, they are environmental criminals.
“My wife was walking our dog the other day and came back with dog muck all over her shoes. We have to do something about this.”
Initial reaction to the mayor’s proposal included a certain amount of bemusement.
The Liverpool Echo reported being asked by readers whether it was an early April Fool’s story.
Some declared their support for the measure, with one writing on Facebook: “I will stick a camera outside my house – sick of the dog dirt all year round outside my gate. I’m up for free yearly council tax!”
Others, though, described the proposal as a call for people to be “grasses”, with Darryn Gaudie writing on Facebook: “Stasi privileges. What is this, East Germany?”
One critic also pointed out: “You get enough abuse and physical threats just asking an irresponsible dog owner to pick up, imagine if you were filming them!”
Some said the scheme could be open to abuse, with people faking video footage to frame innocent dog owners, or even “shopping” themselves because the fine would be more than compensated for by the reward of a year’s free council tax.
The mayor, however, took to Twitter to insist that “responsible dog owners” who clean up after their pets would have nothing to fear from his proposals.
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