Plea for dog owners to pick up in country parks and open spaces

Cheshire West and Chester Council is asking all dog owners to pick up after their four-legged friend in all locations, after an increase in dog fouling in the borough’s countryside sites.

Most dog owners in the borough are responsible and pick up dog mess, and then dispose of it in any bin.  However, a minority is risking damage to nature and wildlife, as well as dangerous risks to young children.

A study published this week has shown that dog faeces and urine are being deposited in nature reserves in such quantities that it is likely to be damaging to wildlife.  The scientists reached their conclusions by counting dog numbers over 18 months in four nature reserves on the outskirts of Ghent in Belgium. They said the situation would be similar across Europe, which is home to about 87 million dogs.*

Dog fouling is a very real danger to children as they are particularly susceptible to the toxocara parasite found in dog mess which can cause blindness.

The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said, “Many dog walkers think that leaving dog mess in nature will not do any harm.

“Just because it’s not on the path doesn’t mean it doesn’t need picking up – it does, for our many visitors, the children who play in our lovely parks, plus our StreetCare teams and volunteers who walk among flowers and shrubs to keep the parks looking good.

“Most ecosystems are naturally low nutrient environments and over-fertilisation, which can be caused by dog mess, reduces biodiversity by allowing invasive species like nettles or hogweed to drive out others and the wildlife that depend on them.

“Picking up after your four-legged friend is a must, no matter where you are please, or risk being fined.”

The message is simple:  Bag it and bin it – any rubbish bin will do!  Anyone caught allowing their dog to foul could be handed a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).

The Council is also able to help volunteers organise a Pink Poo campaign to tackle dog fouling in their area.  The aim of the campaign is for local communities to highlight exactly how bad the problem of dog fouling is in a particular area and to embarrass irresponsible dog owners by spraying sighted incidents of dog fouling with chalk-based pink paint.

More information is on the Council’s website  where community groups can register their interest to carry out a campaign.

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