A COUNTY councillor is pushing for the return of dog licences and larger fines to be introduced for “irresponsible” dog owners.

Aberystwyth councillor Mark Strong said he has received “numerous complaints about dog mess and people ignoring the restrictions on dogs on our beaches entirely”.

Cllr Strong also stated he has had many similar experiences and “run-ins”, and is now pushing for the return of dog licences and fines.

He said: “I’m afraid that I’m coming to the conclusion that the only way to deal with the minority of irresponsible dog owners is to campaign for the dog licence to be brought back and for large fines for those dog owners who are irresponsible.

“Either way, I do think it may well be to the best advantage of our community to take photographs of those people who are reckless while looking after their dogs and report them, time and again, to the police.”

Cllr Strong spoke of his own experiences in June on Aberystwyth’s North Beach, near to the Marine Hotel: “One particular incident this summer was when I was on the beach with my sons and a man in his early 20s was letting his dog run around the beach.

“This was the area that is restricted. My son was on one of the concrete breakwaters and perfectly safe with his balance until the dog jumped up at him.

“I asked the owner to bring his dog to heel as it had nearly sent my son off balance. The answer he gave was that his dog liked to play.

“I was shocked that he continued to let the dog run free, at which point he let the dog run at my son a second time. Again, I said he should not do that and I was told I was making a fuss over nothing and that I should teach my sons not to be afraid of dogs.

“I referred him to the restrictions on the beach and he told me he was not willing to pay attention to them and asked why should he listen to me.

“I told him that I am a county councillor and he laughed and said he didn’t know what that was.”

A spokesperson for Ceredigion County Council said: “There are no proposals in Wales to introduce a general dog licensing scheme at this time and without the relevant authority it would not be possible to introduce such a proposal in Ceredigion.

“Most local authorities do not have a sufficiently large dog warden service to be able to provide a regular presence on their beaches, in green spaces and in towns etc.

“In Ceredigion, the dog warden service was reduced when services were rationalised on the basis of statutory and financial priorities. The only statutory duty councils have in respect of dogs relates to the capture of stray dogs.

“Nevertheless, the council has powers to serve fixed penalty notices in relation to instances of dog fouling.”