Falkirk public cries ‘foul’ at dog mess level

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People are kicking up a stink ... about owners who don’t pick up after their pooches.

The problem of dogs fouling pavements, parks and gardens is a real bugbear for many residents.

They’re calling foul on those who own dogs and don’t ‘scoop the poop’, instead leaving it lying for others to accidentally walk through.

But what many people don’t realise is that dog faeces can cause infections in humans and even lead to blindness.

About 50 children every year go blind as a result of contracting Toxocariasis from dog poo.

Falkirk Council adopts a zero tolerance to dog fouling and has won awards for its hard-hitting campaign to encourage owners to clean up after their pets.

Failure to pick up after your dog can result in a fixed penalty fine of £40, rising to £60 if it is not paid within 28 days. Offenders may also be reported to the Procurator Fiscal and could be fined up to £500.

Despite this, it still appears to be a problem across the district. When The Falkirk Herald asked people about their experiences on its Facebook page there was a flood of complaints.

Alan Connor posted: “If you want a dog you should accept responsibilities for its droppings. It’s everywhere. Absolutely disgusting.”

Lynn Valentine blamed “those folk that can’t be bothered to actually walk their dogs, open the door and let dogs wander”.

According to Sian Mortimer the problem is getting worse. She commented: “I walk up and down Grahams Road every day on my way to the train station and it is disgusting. Dog mess everywhere and it has definitely got worse recently!”

Although the council is proactive in reminding people of the dangers and the fines they face, as well as providing free dog waste bags, some residents feel they should do more.

Isobel Robertson said: “More bins. I carry my dog’s poo home because there are not enough bins.”

Alison Thornton saidd: “There is not one dog bin on the new path going from Beancross restaurant to the tunnel and loads of dog walkers!”

Falkirk’s Green Dog Walkers campaign, where responsible owners encourage others to pick up after their pets, has proved popular since it was launched.

The brainchild of a community group in Denny and Dunipace, it has now spread across the district with more than 700 members wearing the distinctive green armbands, as well as 21 community group partners, who are managing their own schemes within their neighborhoods. In February 2010 the scheme won the UK Kennel Club Dog Recognition Award.

Claire Mochan, a supporter of the scheme, said: “There is absolutely no excuse for not picking up after your dog. I have two dogs of my own and never leave the house without green bags.

“My kids are all active Green Dog Walkers and wear their armbands with pride. I live right next to a kids’ playpark and the number of people that take their dog to the park and leave mess is an absolute disgrace, especially since there is a bin in the park!”

Mel Bryce, Falkirk Council’s area estates co-ordinator, said: “Over the past few years dog fouling has been a major concern for our communities and, as such, we have targeted resources and campaigned to raise the profile of how socially unacceptable it is to allow your dog to foul public areas.

“The key to our campaigns has been to make irresponsible dog owners aware that it is their responsibility to clean up after their dog and our campaigns have reflected this message.”