A NEW campaign has been launched following a rise in complaints about dog fouling.
It involves the use of eye-catching posters and signs carrying the message: The Dog Poo Fairy doesn’t exist! Bag it and bin it!
The campaign by Hartlepool Borough Council follows a rise in the number of complaints about dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets.
The signs, which are laminated to make them more durable, are being put up in all areas of the town.
Irene Cross, neighbourhood development officer in the central area of the town, said: “It is becoming increasingly noticeable in some of the town centre areas that I work in that some people seem to think that they simply don’t have any responsibility to clean up after their dogs.
“This creates a very unpleasant problem, both in terms of appearance and odour, and one that can pose a serious health risk, particularly to young children.”
The council’s countryside team is putting up the signs on public rights of way and in parks and other public open spaces, including the Burn Valley Family Wood and Summerhill, off Catcote Road.
Team member Deborah Jefferson said: “Hartlepool has some great outdoor areas and we don’t want people’s enjoyment to be ruined by a minority of irresponsible people.
“Some people actually make the effort to pick their dog’s mess in a plastic bag, but then throw the bag in a hedgerow. I’ve known this to happen even when a dog dirt bin is just yards away.”
In addition to the signs, the countryside team is also using a template to spray paint anti-dog fouling images at key points along footpaths popular with dog walkers, such as the Hart to Haswell Walkway.
And the council is warning people that if they fail to co-operate by not cleaning up after their pets they run the risk of being fined.
Senior environmental enforcement officer Yasmin Green said: “It is an offence not to pick up dog dirt immediately. Failure to do so could result in a fixed penalty notice of £80 or a £1,000 fine if it results in a court conviction.
“We carry out patrols in areas where there is known to be a problem with dog fouling and these can take place on evenings or early in the morning.”
Anyone who witnesses dog fouling or who wants to report an area where dog dirt is causing a problem can call the council on (01429) 523333.