Leeds: Secret patrols to tackle dog dirt

Campaigners fighting the menace of dog mess are waiting to find out whether an undercover bid to tackle the problem has proved to be a success.

Environment enforcement officers from Leeds City Council have been undertaking covert patrols across Morley to crack down on dog walkers who do not clean up after their pets foul the pavements.

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The scheme, which operated over four recent Sundays - popular days for dog walking - was targeted at the Morley area after residents and local councillors complained that the neighbourhood was particularly blighted by the problem.

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Officers ditched their usual high-visibility jackets to carry out the plain clothes surveillance and had the power to issue penalty notices to dog owners who failed to clean up after their animals.

A spokesman for the local authority said that a report on the operation and statistics on the number of penalty notices issed were now being

collated and forwarded to members of the Outer South Area Committee.

Morley Borough Independent councillor Bob Gettings, who had backed the scheme, said: "It is important that we support responsible dog owners and crack down on those irresponsible ones who allow their dogs to foul public places. This campaign will prove costly to those who carry on this antisocial behaviour."

According to the council, dog fouling is a major problem across the city and thousands of pounds are spent cleaning up after inconsiderate owners, who face a 75 fixed penalty notice or, if they fail to pay, prosecutionwith a maximum fine of 1,000.

It is an offence for a person who is in charge of a dog to allow it to foul on land which is open to the air and fail to remove the faeces immediately.

* To report any incidents of dog fouling or to contact the council's dog wardens, call 0113 2224406 or email: environmental.action@leeds.gov.uk

Flora Mewies of Ward Hadaway

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