Although the Independents work as a party, they didn't bother with a manifesto, so at least nobody can accuse them of breaking election pledges. But one of the things they did make a great deal of fuss about after the election was cracking down on irresponsible dog owners and the problem of dog fouling.
Since then barely a week has gone by without the council's press office churning out at least one press release announcing that someone has been fined for allowing their dog to foul in a public place, and the press releases invariably feature Cllr Jim Jones, member of the Executive Board for the Environment and Public Protection. So much so that Cllr Jones, one of Meryl's stalwarts, has earned the nickname "the Member for Dug Muck".
|A merry gathering|
But as we all know, the problem has not gone away. In many of the favoured haunts of dog walkers little black doggy bags full of poo hang from the branches of trees. Incredible that someone should take the time to clear up their dog's mess and then chuck the plastic bags into trees and hedgerows to leave these little presents dangling there for years to come.
At a recent meeting of the council's Environment and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee someone asked why Police Community Support Officers were unable to fine irresponsible dog owners for not cleaning up after their pets.
The answer was that they can't because there are no Dog Control Orders in place in Carmarthenshire. If there were, PCSOs would be able to issue fines. But never fear because new legislation would enable the council to "revisit" this problem in the near future.
So what are Dog Control Orders and who is responsible for making them?
Dog Control Orders give the police and others powers to force dog owners to keep control of their dogs, ban dogs from certain places (such as beaches) and compel owners to clear up after their pets. And the legislation makes councils responsible for introducing orders.
In other words, Dog Muck Jim and the council already have powers to tackle irresponsible dog owners, but prefer to rely on the power of the press release instead.