North Walsham has been inspired by America in a bid to solve its dog fouling problem
08:42 11 February 2016
Start spreading the news...a Norfolk town is taking inspiration from the Big Apple.
The low-down on American dog parks
Various parks in America are known as ‘dog parks’. This means that they will have a fenced off section for dogs to play in off the lead without disrupting other park users.
In Central Park, New York City, dogs have 23 allocated parks to choose from, and they are allowed in them before 9am and after 9pm. Central Park Paws hosts regular events for dog owners in the park, for example a monthly ‘Bagel Barks’ event which gives dog owners the chance to meet, talk and have breakfast while the dogs enjoy some off-lead playtime.
Barc Parc South in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is considered one of the best dog parks. It boasts its own lake for dogs to keep cool, and shade areas for the owners. It also separates the park into areas for small and large dogs.
Logan Gate dog park in Tampa, Florida, has five acres for dogs to run around in. It has a six foot fence with double gated entries. The area is split into areas for small and large dogs. There are also water fountains for dogs and their owners, picnic tables, shelters, dog washes and a hitching post.
But it is not the yellow taxis, coffee shops or Statue of Liberty that are catching the eye of North Walsham - it is the dog-friendly areas of Central Park.
For town councillors want to follow the lead of New York and many other places in America by fencing off parts of parks in a bid to deal with the problem of dog fouling.
The idea was inspired by a councillor’s visit to New York where 10 fenced-off areas could be seen in Central Park, creating spaces for dogs to roam free and exercise.
It comes after several members of the public voiced their concerns over the increasing dog mess around the town.
A comment was made on the Facebook group ‘Regenerate North Walsham’ about the problem and many members joined in the discussion.
One member, Kim Hooker, said: “I am a responsible dog owner and I get really cheesed off with people that don’t clear up after their dogs. I take my dogs on the park in the mornings and there’s always poo to avoid, you can’t actually walk anywhere without looking at the floor to see where you are walking.”
The town council will also be issuing new bins - both dog and ordinary - as soon as possible, to try and tackle the problem.
Nick Clancy, North Walsham town clerk, said: “The council has recognised that there has been a problem in certain areas for a while and is being active in dealing with it. We have had complaints before and one problem is the lack of bins and understanding that ordinary waste bins can be used for dog waste as long as the bag is tied up.
“The council has purchased more bins and next week we will be working out the locations and number of bins we will put out. We hope they will be out as soon as possible.
“I suspect that we won’t consider banning dogs from public parks, but the council is looking into trying to install a fenced off dog exercise area at Trackside park which will give a safe area for dogs to run and train away from other park users.”
The possible move has been supported by Westover Vets, on Yarmouth Road. It said: “By providing a safe and secure dog exercising area it improves safety for both the dogs and other park users. It allows dogs to exercise off the lead without impacting on other park users and may restrict fouling in other areas.”
Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “Dog fouling is taken extremely seriously by North Norfolk District Council and we run a ‘No Messing’ campaign, an on-going strategy for tackling fouling.
“Officers from the Environmental Protection team are involved in a staged approach which combines education, information and officer patrols across the district.
“In hot spot areas officers will use signage and patrols to raise the profile of the message.”