A SECURITY firm employed by Conwy Council issued 492 fines to dog owners between 2015/16 and 2016/17 - 458 more than the next county authority in Wales.
The figures, obtained from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Assembly Member Janet Finch-Saunders, were revealed at a meeting of 150 residents, business owners and visitors to discuss rising concerns over draconian enforcement procedures on dog fouling, litter and control orders.
The meeting followed a protest march organised by former Mayor of Llandudno Carol Marubbi and supported by the AM in July.
Then, more than 250 people turned out on Llandudno’s West Shore in protest against the practices of Kingdom Services Group Ltd which is hired by Conwy County Borough Council to issue fines for aspects of environmental crime.
At the gathering at the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno on July 18, Mrs Finch-Saunders outlined information she had obtained from councils across Wales giving comparisons between all 22 authorities on the issuing of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) in relation to Dogs on Lead Orders.
It was revealed that from 2015-16 and 2016-17, 19 local authorities confirmed they had not issued one single FPN for someone having their dog off the lead.
The Vale of Glamorgan issued 4, Blaenau Gwent issued 34 and Conwy County Borough Council issued 492.
Mrs Finch-Saunders, Assembly Member for Aberconwy, said: “It is a shocking amount! That proves the case that Conwy County Borough Council have allowed enforcement officers to have an overzealous approach, especially when you compare it to all the other local authorities across Wales.
“It was certainly evident from the many who spoke up at the recent public meeting that confusion remains still as to where you can and cannot allow your dog off the lead.
“It is fair to say that this issue is not going to go away unless these voices are heard and acted upon.
“Several audience members suggested that the campaign could gear up a step further, and there was even talk of a further protest demonstration right through the town.
“The reputational risk and damage to our wonderful visitor town and beautiful constituency – as there were people speaking up from all parts of my constituency – is a real concern. I believe, if left unaddressed, it will also affect the good reputation of our local authority here in Conwy.
“I urge everyone to make their thoughts known in the forthcoming consultation, which the new leader of the council has now promised.”
Hoteliers and residents were also able to voice their experiences on the night and amongst those speaking was former Mayor of Llandudno and current town councillor Carol Marubbi.
She said: “It’s shocking. I was astounded when I heard 492 fixed penalty notices had been given in Conwy County. We are being victimised. People come first and tourists have spoken to me in the past and said they won’t come back to Llandudno because of it.
“We need to stop this and claim back our town. I urge people to write in to myself via the town council with their concerns or with suggestions.”
A spokesperson for Conwy County Borough Council commented: “The figure quoted by the Assembly Member is correct, but it includes all Fixed Penalty Notices for Dogs on Leads and Dogs in Exclusion Areas throughout the County Borough.
“Information about Dog Control Orders and the location of Dog Exclusion areas is available at www.conwy.gov.uk/dog”