A Conservative councillor has called for a crackdown on dog fouling after learning that just one owner was taken to court in the past year.
Some 432 complaints about dog fouling were made to Brighton and Hove City Council. And the animal welfare team carried out 315 patrols.
But only two fixed penalty notices were issued – one of which was withdrawn because there was insufficient evidence.
The other was not paid so the council took the dog owner to court and successfully prosecuted him.
Councillor Graham Cox raised the matter at the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting at Hove Town Hall.
The committee chairman Councillor Pete West said: “The court sentenced the dog owner to a £100 fine, £350 costs and £15 victim surcharge.”
He was referring to the case of Anthony Gallagher, of Windlesham Road, Brighton. Gallagher was taken to court last November for not clearing up his dog’s mess in Goldsmid Road by the Seven Dials.
Councillor Cox said: “Dog fouling is invariably one of the top three issues that local residents in my ward contact me about and I’m sure that the same is true across much of the rest of the city.
“For this reason, the council should be giving greater priority to pursuing the small minority of irresponsible owners who persist with their anti-social behaviour.
“I appreciate that it can be difficult to catch people in such a large area but all I got in response to my question was a long list of excuses for not doing anything.
“This is not what residents want to hear. I suggest that a campaign targeting the worst affected areas is launched as a matter of priority.”
The former senior Sussex Police detective said: “There are an awful lot of people out there who could act as the council’s ‘eyes and ears’ – park rangers, PCSOs, seafront officers, animal welfare officers, traffic wardens and even residents’ and Friends of Park groups.
“The only way we will get offenders to change their ways is by increasing the likelihood that they will get caught.
“At the moment, as the answer to my question reveals, they know that they will almost certainly get away with it.”
The animal welfare team employs the equivalent of 4.1 full-time staff. Among other things they dealt with 328 stray dogs and investigated 254 dangerous dogs or dog attacks in the past year.
Councillor West added: “We have a mixed approach that includes education, advice and enforcement.”