Monday, 20 December 2010

Green Dog Walkers to tackle dog fouling

Cllr Claire Young (right) with Cllr Linda Boon and her dog Cocoa

Dog owners could soon be helping to tackle dog fouling in a scheme that would see responsible owners wearing armbands and carrying extra bags to hand out to other dog walkers.
At a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council last week, the Liberal Democrats won backing for a proposal to investigate a Green Dog Walkers scheme for South Gloucestershire. One such scheme, which originated in Scotland, has spread across the UK and even won an award from the Kennel Club.

Local Councillor Claire Young, who proposed the idea, said after the meeting, “Dog fouling is not just unpleasant, it is a health hazard, particularly for young children. It’s also a difficult issue to tackle, with only two dog wardens to cover the whole of South Gloucestershire. That’s why I think it’s important to get responsible dog owners involved in tackling the irresponsible or ill-prepared minority who give everyone else a bad name. By wearing an armband or putting a special collar on their dog, and carrying extra waste bags, owners can not only be a visible reminder to their fellow dog walkers but also make sure they have no excuse not to clean up after their dogs.”

Cllr Linda Boon, said, “As a dog owner, I always carry extra bags for picking up mess left by other dogs as well as my own, and I know there are others who do the same. I would be very happy to hand out a spare bag to someone caught out without one. A Green Dog Walkers scheme would make our commitment more visible and send a message to other owners that everyone has to clear up after their dogs.”

Chipping Sodbury Town Councillor, Adrian Rush, said, “Some people seem to find it embarrassing to pick up the mess and carry it in a bag to a bin, but surely it is far more embarrassing to leave a mess that could put children at risk. A green dog walkers scheme is about changing attitudes in a friendly, non-confrontational way.”

Claire got thinking about how to involve the responsible majority of the dog owning community in tackling the problem after taking part in a community litter pick on the Manor School playing field. She was interviewed on Radio Bristol this morning - listen again here (starting just after 42 minutes) or read the article on the BBC website.

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