Terna Jukwey, far left, with Cllr Paul Smith and dog-squad colleagues
Published; 11 May, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
LAW graduate Terna Jukwey, 25, knows that eventually he will have to confront his worst nightmare: the yob with tattoos and a snarling fighting dog straining on the lead.
He was speaking at the launch of Islington’s 22-strong dog squad, who will issue fines to anyone who doesn’t clean up after their pets.
The team, who appeared at Highbury Fields on Tuesday, are made up mainly of young men who wear a distinctive yellow jacket and have the power to hand out on-the-spot £80 fixed penalty fines.
The aim of the squad – believed to be the biggest of its kind in Britain – is to go anywhere in the borough where there are regular reports of dog fouling, particularly at green spaces.
Under the plans, residents will be encouraged to ring the council and “shop a dropper” if someone persistently allows their dog to foul.
Terna, Nigerian for God’s Gift, says he has been trained for the job but admits to being apprehensive about meeting the kind of macho young men and their beasts who refuse to comply with the law.
“We’ve been trained to deal with possible conflict situations,” he said.
“I would never be unpleasant or aggressive. I will not endanger myself or anyone else.
"I have to use my discretion but cleaning up after your pet is a legal requirement. However, I can call for help and in a worst case ask for police support.”
Terna, a law graduate from London Met University, has already handed out a £80 fine (reduced to £50 if you pay within 10 days) in one local park.
“He was a middle-aged chap who was a bit irritated with me but paid up and seemed to understand why I had to do it,” he said.
Labour environment chief Councillor Paul Smith said that people were fed up with having to avoid dog mess.
“The majority of dog owners are responsible and clean up but there are still people who don’t,” he added.
“Our message is that we are not prepared to put up with it anymore."
"We have a very small amount of open space in our borough and we want to keep it clean so families can play or have picnics."
"Dog mess is horrible and can cause disease.”
The 12-week pilot costing £240,000 – the equivalent of £1 for every resident in the borough – is already steeped in controversy over claims that it is not good value for money.
The borough’s former environment chief, opposition Lib Dem councillor Greg Foxsmith, said: “This is just a short-term fix."
"This money could have paid for full-time dog wardens, street cleaners or apprentices.”
The council issued just 58 dog fouling fines in the past 12 months. It hopes to recover much of the £240,000 outlay through fines.