Harrogate council cracks down on district-wide dog mess problem

Dog walkers recently took the matter into their own hands by starting a regular clean up operation. Picture: Rowen Johnson Hardcastle
Dog walkers recently took the matter into their own hands by starting a regular clean up operation. Picture: Rowen Johnson Hardcastle

Residents across the district have 'already noticed a difference' in the amount of abandoned dog mess following calls for the council to crackdown on the issue.

Parents, councillors and dog walkers themselves had spoken out about the increasing amount of dog muck left across green spaces within the Harrogate district.

The problem had started to become so severe that a number of regular dog-walkers had started a regular big pick up which amassed more than 800 poos in its first run.

But Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) has also upped its efforts, undertaking 'bag and flag' events to raise awareness, as well as giving out dog mess bags.

Rowen Johnson Hardcastle, owner of A Bark in the Park dog-walking business, said: "At Hookstone there's definitely a noticeable difference, only one or two bags have been left under the trees since we did the first big pick up.

"I have been approached by members of the public to say thank you and they said it was was loads better.

"It's huge to have this support from the council, and it's really appreciated. There's only one or two dog wardens on a day and they have to deal with so much and then have this on top. It's a shame, their resources could be used in other areas because it's not really up to them."

In Knaresborough HBC gardeners have been given bags so that they can help to clear up as they go even though it isn't part of their job.

Jill Reeves, HBC Environmental Protection Manager, said: “Dog fouling is a problem which Harrogate Borough Council takes extremely seriously and we are doing our utmost to tackle the issue.

“We encourage responsible behaviour from dog owners through the provision of hundreds of dog waste bins and litter bins across the district, which collect tonnes of dog waste each year.

“Tens of thousands of free dog waste bags have been given out to the public and dog fouling enforcement signs have been put on thousands of lamp posts to highlight the issue and encourage responsible behaviour.

“The Dog Warden service seize over a hundred stray dog a year to prevent them from adding to the fouling problem and they target future dog walkers by visiting schools and highlighting the issue to students.

“Where possible we try to work with the community to combat this issue. If groups want to get involved, we will provide advice as well as posters, leaflets, dog poo bags and the free loan of dog poo flags.

“Our Dog Wardens carry out daily patrols across the district based upon intelligence gathered about dog fouling hot spot areas and persons who are allegedly not picking up their dog’s waste.

“The majority of dog owners are responsible and pick up after their dogs, but those owners who at times fail to keep their dog in sight or who never pick up after their animals should take note that we operate a no excuse policy and they will receive a fixed penalty fine or face prosecution when caught.

“We would encourage anyone who is aware of a badly fouled area or who can provide information about an offence to contact us on 01423 500 600 or email EP@harrogate.gov.uk."