Scoop the poop - dumpers are told ‘we are watching’

Helen Thompson says responsible dog owners always pick up after their pets. ANL-150615-101547001
Helen Thompson says responsible dog owners always pick up after their pets. ANL-150615-101547001

Do you pick up your dog’s poop or are you one of the pet owners dumping on South Holland?

The number of people fined for failing to pick up their dog’s poo fell nationally by almost 20 per cent last year, mainly due to cuts in council budgets and lack of manpower to catch offenders.

Dave Rodwell,  SHDC engagement officer, with dog warden Rachel Thompson. ANL-150615-123625001

Dave Rodwell, SHDC engagement officer, with dog warden Rachel Thompson. ANL-150615-123625001

However, South Holland District Council has joined up with a national environmental charity to launch a new campaign aimed at reducing dog fouling in the district.

The ‘We’re watching you’ campaign was successfully piloted by Keep Britain Tidy in 2014 and was launched in South Holland last week.

From tomorrow, striking glow-in-the-dark posters urging dog walkers to pick up after their pets are being rolled out across the district.

Officers will put up a small number of signs on fences and posts at carefully selected sites in Spalding, Donington, Gosberton, Surfleet, Pinchbeck, Weston and Long Sutton.

Bag that poo, any bin will do

The poster’s slogan ‘Bag that poo, any bin will do’ will remind dog owners to make use of the nearby general waste and dog poo bins.

This innovative campaign has followed research which has shown that dog walkers are more likely to pick up after their dogs when they think that they are being watched.

The Keep Britain Tidy pilot, which used the posters and was funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), saw an average reduction of 46 per cent in the levels of dog fouling.

In 2014-15, 2,868 fixed penalty notices were issued in England and Wales – down from 3,521 in the previous 12 months.

According to the figures there were 73,824 complaints about dog mess in 2014-15 – but 103 councils did not issue any fixed penalties.

The government said it was working with councils to find “local solutions”.

Fixed penalty notices can be issued by people, including council officers, to anyone who fails to clean up dog mess on certain land where the public have access.

The cost of the penalty varies in different local authorities but in South Holland it is £50.

Over the years, residents in South Holland have waged their own war on dirty dog owners.

In 2013, a fed-up Surfleet mum took on selfish dog owners who leave their pets’ poo behind on pavements in the village.

Fran Healands sprayed yellow powder on grot spots in Surfleet to highlight the problem of dog fouling and persuade people walking their dogs to be more responsible.

She claimed that parents had to “hop, skip and jump” over dog mess left on pavements while taking their children to school despite there being several new dog bins in the village.

Coun Jane King, district councillor for Donington, is delighted the campaign is being launched.

She said: “The subject of dog poo not being picked up has come up several times in Donington.

“If this campaign works it will be excellent.

“Someone used to leave dog poo just outside the gate of a local school.

“You can imagine the mess when children charged through the playground into school.

“The weather is warming up and it become a mine field missing it in Flinders Park.

“But if you say anything to anyone you are likely to get a mouthful.”

On launching the new campaign, a spokesperson for South Holland District Council said: “We are confident that the posters will encourage dog owners to be responsible.”

Coun Malcolm Chandler, portfolio holder for environmental health, said: “The vast majority of dog walkers are very responsible and pick up after their animals.

“This campaign aims to remind those who may be tempted to leave it that it is not acceptable.

“Dog fouling isn’t a big problem in the district, but when it does occur it is deeply unpleasant for residents, who often tell us that it is by far the worst type of litter.

“That’s why we’ve teamed up with Keep Britain Tidy to help make sure our outside spaces remain enjoyable for everybody.”

* Dog owners should pick up after their dog and dispose of the poo bags in the nearest bin or by taking home to dispose of in their own household waste bin.

Residents can inform the council of litter and dog mess on the website www.sholland.gov.uk/doitonline/