Dog dirt causing stink in village

BLACKSPOT: Greatham Sports Field
BLACKSPOT: Greatham Sports Field

A PARISH council has slammed local authority bosses for handing out just one fine for dog fouling in a whole year in a village which is plagued by law-flouting pet owners.

Greatham, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, is a popular place for dog-walking due to its footpaths, walkways, fields, and large grassy areas, with people from the village and further afield regularly walking their pets.

But the village – which scooped two gold awards in the horticultural Northumbria in Bloom contest – is dogged by fouling because lazy and irresponsible pet owners are breaking the law by not cleaning up after their pooches.

Brian Walker, chairman of Greatham Parish Council, said Hartlepool Borough Council should be doing more to help combat the problem by sending more patrols to the village’s blackspots which include High Street, Front Street, The Green, the sports field and walkways.

And he urged council bosses to publicise when fines are handed out in a bid to deter dog-owners from leaving their mess behind for fear of being slapped with a fixed penalty notice of £50 up to £1,000. He said “enforcement” should take the lead as “reminders will not improve the situation”.

Brian said: “This is one of those constant complaints which people have every right to be up in arms over as the couldn’t-care-less-owners leave their mess for everyone else to deal with.

“Reminders will not improve the situation, enforcement must now take the lead. Unfortunately the enforcement officers cannot be everywhere at once, they need the support of residents to be effective.

“We need people to report incidents and provide information on times and locations as people do tend to be fairly regular when walking their dogs.

“The council also needs to publicise the number of fixed penalties that are being issued as the law needs to be seen to be being enforced because people feel they can just get away with it.

“The Parish Council is putting up notices at black spots in the village. By all means report incidents in confidence to parish councillors and we’ll pass the information on, but for a more rapid response report incidents directly to the council.”

A spokesman for the borough council said it had not believed dog fouling was a particular problem in the village, but was happy discuss the possibility of increasing anti-dog fouling patrols.

He added: “Greatham Village is inspected by our staff every week for litter and dog fouling. We haven’t perceived dog fouling or littering to be major issues in the village and in the past 12 months to the end of February we have only issued one Fixed Penalty Notice for dog fouling on the sports field.

“However, if Mr Walker has concerns, we will be more than happy to discuss those with him to see how we can help further, including the possibility of increasing the frequency of our anti-dog-fouling patrols, albeit with the limited resources available to us.”

Report dog foulers to the council on (01429) 523333.