Warning for dog owners

DOG owners are being warned to clean up after their pets or risk being fined.

Hartlepool Borough Council is calling for owners to accept their responsibilities amid concern over a recent rise in the number of complaints about dog fouling.

There were 158 fixed penalty notice (FPN) fines issued to people who failed to clean up after their dogs in 2010-11.

The appeal coincides with National Pet Month, which is running throughout April.

Environmental projects officer Kate Ainger said: “Dog dirt can be a health risk, particularly if children come into contact with it. Picking up dogs’ mess is up to the owners. The council provides dog dirt disposal bins.

“Environmental enforcement officers will issue an £80 fixed penalty notice if they see someone failing to clean up after their dogs.”

A particular cause for concern is the misuse of security-gated backstreets as exercise pens for dogs.

Ms Ainger added: “Dogs are only allowed in gated backstreets if they are on a lead.”