Another fine mess

HARROGATE residents have reacted angrily to growing numbers of dog owners in the town who are not cleaning up after their pets.

David Simister, of Park Parade, took to Twitter to express his frustrations over the issue.

He said: “Harrogate dog owners, please pick up after your pooch! It gives the rest of us a bad name. Pannal church yard - dog mess left on a grave!”

While Harrogate Borough Council said that levels of dog fouling in the district had declined over the years, the dog warden service had noticed an increase in the number of complaints relating to residential footpaths during the darker, colder months of the year.

Coun Nick Brown, cabinet member for public protection and rural affairs, said: “Dog fouling is an anti-social act committed by irresponsible dog owners that will not be tolerated.

“There is no excuse not to pick up after your dog has fouled as dog fouling can be disposed of in any dog waste bin, public litter bin or your own domestic refuse.”

A spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council’s dog control officers warned that such behaviour was not acceptable and that irresponsible dog owners needed to change their ways unless they wished to be issued with a £50 penalty.

She said: “Dog fouling incidents on residential streets are likely to have been carried out by someone local. This is not only an extremely anti-social act towards a neighbour but also a health risk to all members of the public.

“We will find you and we will fine you.”

Dog control officers, who have issued 12 fixed penalty notices this year increasing the total number of fixed penalties issued to 150, are currently targeting problem areas like Bilton, Crag Lane, Knaresborough and Low Mill in Ripon as part of their daily activities, but are always ready to increase patrols in areas where the public have concerns.

The council thanked those owners who did clear up after their dogs, but encouraged the public to contact the dog control office on 01423 556633 to pass on any information, including names, addresses or descriptions of people allowing their dogs to foul public areas and not cleaning it up, stressing that all information would be dealt with in confidence.