South Bucks District Council carried out a week-long anti dog-fouling campaign earlier this month to educate walkers and owners of the risks they face if they don't clear up after their dog.
The district council worked with Beaconsfield Town Council and the local community on the ‘Who’s watching you?’ campaign, advising dog walker of their legal responsibilities and educating residents about how to report people who fail to clear up after their dog messes in public.
Irresponsible dog walkers could face a fixed penalty of £75 or a fine of up to £1,000.
As well as being an eyesore, dog mess can be hazardous to health. Whilst rare, contact with dog excrement can cause toxocariasis – a nasty infection that can lead to dizziness, nausea, asthma and even blindness and seizures.
The campaign involved Environmental Health Officers visiting popular dog walking sites at various times throughout the day starting from 7am.
Leaflets and dog waste bags were handed out along with useful information and advice about responsible dog ownership.
Dog owners have a legal duty to clean up every time their dog messes in a public place under the Dogs Fouling of Land Act 1996 as amended by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act making it an offence to allow your dog to foul and then not pick it up.
There are over 70 dedicated dog bins across the district with 16 in Beaconsfield. Owners were advised that if one cannot be found, they should double wrap the dog bag and take it home and dispose of it there.
Waste can also be flushed down the toilet or buried in the garden, but owners were instructed not to put dog waste in their garden waste bins.
South Bucks District Councillor Luisa Sullivan, Portfolio Holder for Environment said:
“Dog fouling is an issue that affects everyone in the community and I am incredibly pleased to see the district and town council teaming up to raise awareness on the matter to help tackle the problem.
"Dog mess is unsightly, deeply unpleasant and also a potential health hazard, it’s not right that children should be put at risk in areas such as playing fields and parks because pet owners are acting in a selfish way.
"Most dog owners act responsibly and pick up after their pets, but a few still allow their dogs to foul pavements and footpaths which simply isn’t acceptable. The message is clear. Bag it. Bin it or face a fine.”
To report a dog fouling offender, you can use the online ‘Report It’ facility. The more information you can give, the greater chance there is of offenders being caught.