Knaresborough 'marred' by 'dirty and dangerous' dog mess problem

Councillor James Monaghan with his son Rowan (2) and other concerned residents.
Councillor James Monaghan with his son Rowan (2) and other concerned residents.

Parents of young children in Knaresborough have branded the town's dog mess problem as 'miserable' and 'dirty'.

Councillor James Monaghan (Lib), has submitted a motion to the Town Council for urgent debate on the issue of abandoned dog mess at Knaresborough Castle.

Coun Monaghan, who has young children, has also urged Harrogate Borough Council to do all it can to sort out the 'unacceptable and unsafe' problem.

He said "Dog fouling at the castle is awful. It looks bad, it smells bad and it is dirty and dangerous.

"This is somewhere local residents and people from all over the country bring their children to play.

"It has got to the point that we can't let our own children go on the grass to play because there is so much dog waste."

Other parents around the town have supported his call for the issue to be addressed, but one mother suggested the problem doesn't just stop at the castle.

Knaresborough resident, Jennifer Cook, said she often visits Knaresborough Castle and the town's other open spaces with her daughter Matilda.

She said: "It never used to be a problem, it's such a beautiful place to live and it's great for kids, we are so lucky to have so many nice open spaces to enjoy but at the moment it's just being marred because there's so much dog poo everywhere, not just at Knaresborough Castle, I think it's a wider problem.

"In the last three weeks we have had three incidences where I have had to be cleaning poo off Matilda or myself. It's such a shame that it ruins what could be a nice day out.

"Even if you watch them like a hawk they still get it on them, it's so miserable, it goes all over the car and the pram.

"It seems like a silly thing to get irate about but it's just happening so often. We love dogs and we love seeing people out with their dogs and I think the vast majority of people are responsible but it's got so much worse recently."

In a small market town like Knaresborough, Jennifer highlighted that many of the local businesses rely on visitors who could be discouraged from returning if the problem continues.

She said: "The town needs people who come and visit these places but if people are going home with poo on their shoes they won't come back and they won't think that we respect our town. The cafes and businesses need those people as customers too, that is important as well."

James continued "Harrogate Borough Council need to make a concerted effort to keep this area clean and consider options to stop dog fouling here permanently."

James added "What is frustrating is that it is only a minority of dog owners causing this problem, but they are spoiling one of Knaresborough's most iconic and popular attractions."

Councillor Mike Chambers, Harrogate Borough council’s cabinet member for Safer Communities, said: “Our dog wardens carry out regular enforcement patrols around Knaresborough and have recently been focussing on the Market Square, Castle Grounds, Hay-a-Park, Scriven Road, Briggate and the parks and open spaces in and around the town.

“New ‘no fouling’ signs are being put up and replaced in many areas and Castle Grounds has ‘we’re watching you’ signs on the waste bins, which are still being successful in encouraging dog owners to pick up after their dogs.

“The majority of dog owners are responsible and pick up after their dogs and we thank them for doing this; it’s the irresponsible minority who commit offences by not picking up after their dogs.

"Where these people walk their dog daily on a regular route, the area can very quickly become badly fouled. This is an anti-social act and one that causes problems for other people who use the area.

“I would urge anyone who is aware of a badly fouled area or who can provide information about the time of day the fouling is taking place, details or the dog walker (if known) and a description of the walker and dog, to contact the council’s dog wardens. This information will help them to target their enforcement patrols to try and catch the offenders.”