Hucknall wages war on dog mess

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AN INTERNET crusade has been launched calling for a crackdown on the scourge of dog mess in Hucknall.

Campaigning residents are demanding action against irresponsible dog-owners.

Things came to a head after the shocking discovery of a children’s play area in Hucknall plastered with poo.

Organisers of a play event at the newly-revamped Washdyke Lane recreation ground were appalled when they turned up to find piles of dog faeces on the grassed area and excrement on playground equipment. It forced them to switch the community attraction indoors.

Now locals have had enough and have taken to the social-networking site Facebook in a call to arms.

They say the menace has reached “crisis point across the whole town”, with open spaces and streets plagued by dog faeces.

And they say the blame lies squarely with dog owners who refuse to clean up after their pets.

Dad Dave Birkin, of Annesley Road, Hucknall, is the driving force behind the Facebook campaign, which has already recruited almost 100 supporters.

They are calling on Ashfield District Council to take up the fight.

“The dog owners use the Washdyke Lane rec as a dog toilet,” said Dave (58), who is an ex-landlord of the former Portland Arms pub on nearby Annesley Road.

“It’s disgusting and a problem across the town. Dog mess carries disease and bacteria that could leave a child blind.

“Enough is enough. Someone needs to take a stance and the time has come.

“I’ve seen someone come up to the rec with two dogs in a van, let them do their business and drive off. I’ve even had owners allow their dogs to use my garden as a toilet.”

Mum-of-two Collette Parkin (32), of St Mary’s Way, Hucknall, submitted a furious post on Facebook after the upheaval for the Washdyke event.

She said: “I can’t wait to see someone who doesn’t clean up after their dog because I will be straight there to rub their face in it.

“There were three bins for dog dirt added on the rec a few months ago. My back is up now, so beware when on there.”

Collette’s mum, Julie Parkin (52), of Annesley Road, said: “The responsibility is with the dog owners. They should be ashamed.”

Coun John Wilmott (Lab), of Hucknall, who is deputy leader of Ashfield Council, has been alerted to the problems. And the council says it shares the frustration of residents.

It says it cleared the Washdyke site before the play day but the playground was messed up again almost immediately.

The council says it is determined to tackle the problem.

Dog-control orders were in place to ban dogs from going on to play areas, while it was a criminal offence for dogs not to be on a lead on all streets or pavements.

Flouting the law was punishable by on-the-spot fines or prosecution in court.

The council also says that hotspot areas are targeted by cleansing teams, while Community Protection Officers (CPOs) carry out regular patrols.

Signs had been put up and leaflet-drops carried out in areas affected, calling for information from locals on dog owners who were allowing their pets to foul and not cleaning up after them.

Bags for dog dirt were also provided, free of charge, and there was an ongoing programme of providing bins specifically for dog mess.

Edd de Coverly, service director for environment at Ashfield Council, said: “Dog fouling is an anti-social menace. It is extremely frustrating that people continue to allow their dogs to foul in public places and then don’t clean up after them.

“It is particularly outrageous that dogs have been allowed to foul in a children’s play area. Dog mess carries significant health-risks which, if brought into contact with the eyes, could lead to blindness in extreme cases.

“The council has recently taken steps to make it a criminal offence for dogs to enter children’s play areas and the community protection team will fine anyone they find who does not comply with this ban.”

A CRACKDOWN on dog mess is also planned in Newstead, complete with posters, an article in the ‘Village News’ pamphlet and work by neighbourhood wardens with schoolchildren.