Scoop it up warning not a fairy tale ...

Left to right, Irene Cross, John Swallow, a ranger supervisor at Summerhill, and Hannah Woodhouse with Bonnie the dog

Left to right, Irene Cross, John Swallow, a ranger supervisor at Summerhill, and Hannah Woodhouse with Bonnie the dog

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COUNCIL staff marked National Poop Scoop Week by challenging dog owners to always clean up after their pets.

They distributed copies of a specially-produced booklet, The Essential Guide for Dog Owners in Hartlepool, and offered advice to people out walking their dogs.

Members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s countryside team, the waste and environmental services team and the neighbourhood management team all took part in the awareness-raising initiative.

And to reinforce the clean-up message, council staff who visited Summerhill outdoor activities centre wore T-shirts promoting the authority’s own anti-dog fouling campaign which uses the slogan “The Dog Poo Fairy Doesn’t Exist. Bag it and bin it!”

Irene Cross, neighbourhood development officer in the south and central area of the town, said: “We felt that National Poop Scoop Week which is run by The Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, provided us with a perfect opportunity to reinforce the message that it is the responsibility of all dog owners to clean up after their pets.

“There has been a noticeable rise in complaints to the council about dog owners failing to clean up and we are determined to try to change attitudes.”

Hannah Woodhouse, from the council’s countryside team, said: “Many dog owners accept their responsibilities but a significant number still think it is acceptable to leave the job of cleaning up after their dogs to the council. It is those people that we are targeting.

“It is an offence not to pick up dog dirt immediately and dog owners who fail to co-operate should remember that they run the risk of receiving a fixed penalty notice of £80 or a £1,000 fine if the matter results in a conviction in court.”

The Essential Guide for Dog Owners in Hartlepool has been produced by environmental projects officer Kate Ainger from the council’s waste and environmental services team.

It features a wealth of information, including details of dog control orders in place across the town, places where dogs can be exercised freely and safety tips for dog walkers.

Copies of the booklet can be downloaded at www.hartlepool.gov.uk/dogs and they will also soon be available from the Central Library, in York Road, Hartlepool Civic Centre reception, Summerhill Visitor Centre and Hartlepool Tourist Information Centre, in Church Square.