A Sidmouth pensioner was warned he faced being fined for fly-tipping after depositing a bag of puppy poo in a council bin.
Pete Grant, 72, from Stowford, said a council worker told him could be fined £1,000 for depositing one bag of dog mess in a red bin because it had been picked up from his private garden, not the street, and he did not have a dog with him.
Pete, who was looking after his grandson’s 12-week-old dachshund puppies, said he phoned East Devon District Council and was told his actions were classed as fly-tipping.
The district council said Pete should use his own landfill bin because dog waste bins were for public pick-ups and not for pet mess gathered from gardens.
Married Pete, from Blackthorn Close, Sidmouth, said: “Somebody’s got their head in the crazy department if that’s a rule with East Devon District Council.
“I have heard some foolish policies being put about but this must be the most idiotic one going.”
Pete was told he could be fined £1,000 by a council worker employed to empty the dog bin at the rear of the pensioner’s home.
When Pete called EDDC’s Honiton HQ for the poo bin policy, he was told his action was classed as fly-tipping.
The pensioner said the tiny dachshunds were currently exercised in the garden because ‘they can’t walk that far’, leaving Pete to carry the one bag of pup poo across the main road to the council dog bin.
He said: “I had my grandson’s two dogs. They are 12-week dachshunds; two very young dogs. They are only puppies, so they can’t walk that far and use the back garden to do their poo in.
“I walked across the road to one of the council poo bins. I was putting the bag in when the council man that empties the bins said ‘excuse me sir, you know you can be fined for that?’
“I said ‘excuse me?’.
“He said ‘you are putting the poo bag in a poo bin, you can get fined £1,000 for that’.
I said ‘what on earth for? It’s a poo bin. I’m putting a poo bag in a poo bin.’
“He said ‘we are having trouble with people putting domestic waste in poo bins.’”
Back at home, Pete called EDDC’s Honiton HQ, spoke to someone on reception, who sought advice from their manager.
“He said, ‘excuse me sir, but that’s correct. That’s classed as fly tipping.’,” said Pete.
Pete added: “I am worried about people who don’t have dogs that are community-minded who are picking up things like that and putting them in the proper poo bins, the red ones; they could get fined £1,000.”
District and county Councillor Stuart Hughes, said: “I have been involved with the council since 1991, I have never been told by any council worker that it’s classed as fly tipping.
“I thought it was April Fool’s Day and they were joking.”
An East Devon District Council spokeswoman said dog owners should use their own landfill bins for pet waste picked up from gardens, because public bins were ‘not the appropriate receptacle’ for domestic dog waste.
She said unless Mr Grant reported names of staff he dealt with the council was powerless to deal with misinformation issues.
The EDDC spokeswoman said: “Without the member of the public contacting us directly and giving us the names of the staff members involved, we can’t make sure that staff are giving out the right messages.”
She added: “A dog owner picking up after their own dog in their own garden should put the waste into their own landfill bin, because litter bins and dog waste bins in the community are meant to be used by visitors and people out walking their dogs.
“Dog waste is essentially no different to any other waste that a householder might generate in their own home which they should dispose of in their own bin.”
She added: “It is absolutely fine for a public-spirited member of the public to pick up litter or dog waste that they see on the pavement and to put it in either a litter bin or a dog poo bin – in fact they should be applauded for doing so and it certainly isn’t fly tipping.
“However, litter or dog bins are not the appropriate receptacle for domestic dog waste – someone collecting a bag full of dog waste from their own garden and then depositing that bag in a bin.
“We do expect dog owners to behave responsibly and to clear up after their own pets and not to expect someone else to clear up after their own dog.”