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Report those dirty dogs

The ‘Don’t mess with Waltham Forest’ campaign launched by the Council to address issues of people rubbishing the borough’s streets is now focusing on irresponsible dog owners who do not clean up after their pets.

In a two-pronged attack on the problem the Council has launched both an incentive scheme and a new reporting pad that residents can use to let the Council’s Dog Enforcement Team know about irresponsible dog owners.

“We’re determined to get to grips with where these problems arise most often and want to confront the individuals responsible for leaving our streets and our parks in a mess,” said Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment.

“Despite having one of the largest Dog Enforcement Teams in London, realistically it is very difficult for them to catch irresponsible dog owners and issue Fixed Penalty Notices as they need to witness the dogs in the act.

“Our regular warning stencils and leaflets have gone some way to address the issue, but we need to ratchet up the campaign. To do that we need our residents’ support.”

Anyone who is regularly out and about in the borough’s parks, or anywhere else where dog mess is a problem, would be ideally placed to identify irresponsible dog owners. A pilot scheme will offer residents £25 worth of High Street Vouchers for intelligence that leads to a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued against an irresponsible dog owner.

By increasing the sources of intelligence the Dog Enforcement Team can target reported hotspots and look to approach identifiable owners. To assist with reporting, the Council has also devised a reporting pad that asks residents to write down information about the dirty dogs and their owners.

By knowing the type of dog, colour of dog, description of owner, location, time and occurrence (daily/weekly) the Dog Enforcement Team can not only visit the specific location at a specific time, but can hopefully pick out the culprits.

Residents can either drop off the page of the pad at Council offices or email the information to the Dog Enforcement Team. “We know residents hate dog mess left for them to step in and so we are calling upon them to help us track down the minority of irresponsible individuals who fail to pick up after their dogs,” said Cllr Loakes.

“It is disgusting to think that children could step in it or it could end up on the wheels of our kids’ bikes or prams or even wheelchairs which then gets spread around schools, homes and cars. Cleaning up after your dog is not a new thing and there is really no excuse for dog owners to not take on the responsibility – especially when bagged-up dog mess can be put in any street bin!”

Waltham Forest for Dogs has already got behind the scheme and other groups such as Snow Angels, Street Watchers, Friends of Parks and Residents Associations have also been approached.

The Dog Control Orders that came into force at the beginning of this year not only help re-establish the need for dog owners to pick up after their pets, but close loopholes where previously the Council was unable to enforce in regard to dog mess – such as in car parks and cemeteries.

To get hold of a reporting pad, and to report an incident of dog fouling visit the Council’s website at www.walthamforest.gov.uk/report phone 020 8496 3000 or email dogteam@walthamforest.gov.uk

If you would like more information about any of these press releases or have a different media enquiry please contact us at media@walthamforest.gov.uk or on 020 8496 4521 / 4802.

For out of hours please email media@walthamforest.gov.uk or call 07966 915 157.