Grave concerns over dog fouling in North Walsham

No messing! dog poo graffiti on the pavements in Sheringham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

No messing! dog poo graffiti on the pavements in Sheringham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Grave concerns have been raised over attempts to address complaints over dog fouling in north Norfolk after it emerged the local council has not fined anyone for failing to clean up after their pets in the last three years.

Liberal Democrat councillors have called on the Conservative-led North Norfolk District Council to do more to catch offenders in the same week it was revealed that dogs are continuing to foul in St Nicholas Churchyard in North Walsham.

They blamed a lack of dog wardens to patrol the area.

However, the local authority, which launched a 'No Messing' campaign to remind pet owners of their responsibilities, insisted it is still committed to tackling dog fouling, with the number of complaints to the council falling by almost a half over the past three years.

Councillor Peter Moore (LibDem, North Walsham East Ward) said: 'I would like to see the council do more to support campaign but not sure what the answers is.'

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'The fact that people still allow their dogs to foul seems to be a real problem but the difficulty with dog fouling is actually getting the evidence. Unless you see the dog fouling and catch the owner then it's difficult to do anything about it at all.'

And fellow Councillor Virginia Gay (LibDem, North Walsham East Ward) added: 'The issue with dog fouling is that is causes a nuisance to a lot of people, like older people and those who push buggies and it is the responsibility of the district council.'

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North Walsham Town Council did consider introducing fenced off areas for dogs in public parks. It took its lead from the specially designed dog parks in New York's Central Park but was forced to drop the idea following opposition from the public.

Councillor Tom FitzPatrick (Con, Walsingham Ward), Leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: 'We are committed to ensuring North Norfolk is a safe and attractive place for residents and visitors alike. We take issues around planning very seriously. We believe in looking into ways to improve all areas of our service delivery and, following on from our success in tackling empty homes through our Enforcement Board, have created a combined team to handle planning and revenues enforcement that will begin working in its new configuration in April.

'We understand how serious dog fouling is to our communities and work very hard with local campaigning and volunteer dog wardens to educate dog walkers as well as feed back information to our Environmental Protection Team about specific problems in their areas.'

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