A Victorian couple were fined for not having enough dog poo bags while on a walk, despite not leaving a mess.
Jo and Wes took their dog for a walk last winter. On the walk, their dog Cody relieved himself and his owners cleaned up after him.
Later on the walk, the three were confronted by Bayside City council by-laws officers.
Speaking to A Current Affair, Jo said the officers wanted to know where Cody was registered and wanted to scan him.
The officers then questioned the poo bags, according to Jo, who explained she had already cleaned up after her dog at the start of their walk.
“We said, 'we've already used our poop bag at the beginning of our walk.' And they said, 'well, where's your second bag?’” Jo told A Current Affair.
The officers said the couple would only receive a warning, according to Jo, however a month later the council had sent them a $200 fine in the mail for not having a second poop bag on hand.
Bayside Council bylaws stipulate a person “in charge of any animal on council land must carry a litter device suitable to clean up any excrement left by his or her animal”.
The bylaws also say if asked by an officer, the person in charge of the animal must produce the “litter device”.
The couple did not pay the fine, according to A Current Affair, and a year later they have received a summons to appear in court.
Jo told A Current Affair, the paperwork alone for the summons would have taken a number on hours and the money could have been better utilised by council.
“That's someone else's money that could be used for fixing roads,” she said.
Jo also said Bayside Council offered her legal counsel to fight against the council’s fine, which she understands would also be at the ratepayer’s expense.
In October this year, Melbourne’s Moreland City Council proposed a plan which would crack down on dog owners who do not pick up after their dogs.
The idea was to create a DNA database for the dogs in the area, so dog poo found on footpaths in the city could be traced back to the dog’s owner who would receive a fine.
The plan would cost around $100,000 per year and would require owners to consent to having DNA samples taken from their dogs.
Ultimately, the idea was scrapped.
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