Irresponsible dog owners are being warned that they could be landed with a £1,000 fine if they fail to clean up after their animals.
Scarborough Borough Council’s dog warden service is stepping up patrols in problem areas and is also appealing to residents to help in the fight to keep public places free of dog mess, by reporting any dog owners seen breaking the law.
The service says it is not uncommon, though not acceptable, for dog fouling to increase in the autumn and winter period.
As the nights draw in and the clocks go back, irresponsible dog owners use the cover of darkness to avoid clearing up after their pets.
The whole of the borough is covered by dog control orders, which require dog walkers to clean up their dogs faeces.
Those who fail to clear up can incur a fine of up to £1,000 in the courts.
Graham Hibberd, the council’s senior dog warden said: “We want to do our best to eradicate this problem, so patrols are being carried out during the early mornings, daylight and evenings on foot, by cycle and in vehicles throughout the borough.
“We have also trained over 25 staff from other council departments so they too can be on the lookout for offenders.
“At this time of the year, with the days getting shorter, there’s a temptation for irresponsible dog owners to allow their pets to foul and not clear up after them.
“Most dog owners are responsible but we would like to hear from any residents who see individuals breaking the law.
What we need is good evidence – for example a description of the dog and person walking it, the location, date and time of the incident – and then we are able to target the right areas or individuals.”
Since April of this year 31 people have been reported for dog fouling offences with large fines being given out by Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.
Mr Hibberd added people did not think about the health risks associated with not cleaning up the dog mess.
He said: “The act of not clearing up after a dog is not only an offence but anti-social and potentially hazardous – especially to young children as it can cause a variety of illnesses including asthma, stomach complaints and, more worrying, in extreme cases blindness through toxocariasis, should faeces come into contact with their eyes.
“Most of us have younger vulnerable children within our family circle so let’s work together to make our area a pleasant and safe place to live in.”
Anyone with any information that may help the dog warden service identify those responsible, should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01723 232323.