September 20 2014 Latest news:
By KAREN BETHELL
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Graphic street art is helping in the battle against dog mess in north Norfolk.
Spray-painted stencils of squatting pets have been put on pavements at problem hot spots at North Walsham and Sheringham.
It is part of a clampdown by North Norfolk District Council which is also recruiting and training a team of community dog wardens, and encouraging the public to report irresponsible dog owners.
But, while the council says their efforts have seen a decrease in the numbers of dog walkers failing to pick up after their pets, some members of the public still feel more should be done.
District council environmental protection manager James Wilson said that, since the “No Messing” campaign was started last year, dog mess has become less of a issue.
The scheme aims to identify problem areas through various sources, including reports from members of the public and from street cleaners.
Hotspots were targeted with door-to-door deliveries of No Messing postcards, which encourage people to report irresponsible owners - who are liable for an £80 fine - either by telephone, post or via the council’s website.
Other strategies included community support officer patrols outside primary schools at Sheringham and North Walsham, and the pavement slogans, which show a dog and the words: No Messing!
An appeal for community dog wardens had also had a good response, with around a dozen currently being trained.
“We want to promote community engagement as we find that tends to work,” Mr Wilson said.
However, parents and teachers at Sheringham Primary School and Millfield School at North Walsham say that, in spite of the council’s efforts, dog mess is still very much an issue.
Facebook pages complaining about dog fouling outside schools have been set up by parents from both towns and, according to Sheringham Primary head teacher Dominic Cragoe, pupils and parents are “fed up” with having to dodge piles of dog mess on their way to school.
“It is disgusting that people can’t clear up,” Mr Cragoe said. “It is not acceptable to anybody in the community, it is thoughtless and it’s a health hazard.
“Parents have said something needs to be done. We have got children and babies in pushchairs walking past the school and I’ve seen high school students who have stepped in mess on their way to school.”
Sheringham dog owner Steve Marca regularly walks his miniature schnauzer Lola along the footpath leading to Beeston common – an area designated as a “hotspot” by the council.
He felt the pavement stencils were a good idea, but was less than confident that they would have the desired effect.
“There are a few people who spoil it for the rest of us and it’s a problem catching people,” he said. “Unless you have patrols going round cleaning up dog mess like they do in Paris, then you’re just not going to get rid of it.”
Mr Wilson said that more was being done, with members of the public now able to communicate with the council via Facebook and Streetlife.
“We are very keen for people to contact us and, if they are able to give us an idea of a time, or if there is a particular person involved, then we will act and target our resources to tackle the problem.”
To report a dog mess problem, or to find out about becoming a community dog warden, visit www.northnorfolk.org/environment or phone 01263 516085.