VOLUNTEERS HAVE become the eyes and ears of the council in a bid to try to punish dog owners who fail to clear up after their pets.
The number of complaints about dog owners allowing their dogs to foul has surged - with almost 1,000 last year alone, but just 30 fixed penalty notices dished out to offenders.
Leeds Council’s new Garforth Dog Watch trial will operate along the lines of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme, asking civic-minded residents to make a note of dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets and provide the council with the details of offenders.
In order to be able to hand out the £75 fines for fouling, officers must either witness or have sufficient evidence that people have left their dogs’ mess behind - something that will now be gathered by the Dog Watch volunteers.
Coun Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety, said it was time to try something new to deal with the city’s “perpetual poo problem”.
“Our officers can’t be everywhere all time and people may be more inclined to pick up after their pet if they know they are being watched by our eagle-eyed volunteers,” he said. “We want to stamp out dog fouling – not in it – so we’re testing out a new approach that will hopefully help us pursue more fouling offenders.”
Dog watch volunteer Ray Norcliffe said: “The issue of dog fouling issue is totally selfish, but I think bit by bit, little by little, the penny will drop if we have a campaign such as this.”
The trial will run for around three months.
NEW POWERS ARE NEEDED
We’re campaigning for a cleaner, litter-free Yorkshire - but need your help.
As part of our Clean Up Yorkshire campaign, we’re asking our readers to sign a petition urging the Government to give new powers to councils to fine people who litter from vehicles - one of the biggest contributors to trash on our streets. To find out more and sign the petition, visit you.38degrees.org.uk/p/litterfromvehicles and the Clean Up Yorkshire section on our website.