Action forced over Leiston dog mess problems
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Community leaders have called a public meeting to get to grips with a mucky problem causing controversy in their their town – with the aim to draw up an action plan.
Pressure from Leiston Dogs Mess Name And Shame (LDMNAS) – which hit the headlines around the world in the summer after Hollywood star Hugh Grant tweeted “My hero” in reference to one member of the campaign group – and around 100 letters from frustrated residents wanting action has made councillors sit up and take notice.
Leiston Town Council has now agreed to hold a meeting at 7.30pm on Monday, December 14 at Leiston Community Centre, King Georges Avenue.
LDMNAS was launched after a team of volunteers clearing up footpaths could not believe how much dog mess they were finding.
Its leader, Andrew Hawes, who was prepared to don camouflage in order to catch the culprits and take their photo, said: “Since the voluntary clean-up operation started back in May, more than 124 piles of dog mess have been reported and recorded and removed from Leiston parks and pathways and still to this day dog mess is being reported to LDMNAS.
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“We have water-based Clean It Up signs on various paths around town which are acting as a reminder and a slight improvement has been recorded.”
The group has suggested options for action to the town council, including supporting a public space protection order – which Suffolk Coastal council could set up – and this could then allow other initiatives, such as using DNA testing to match dogs to their mess in order to bring about successful prosecutions of owners.
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Other ideas include the use of dog wardens to patrol and speak to owners and issue fines, free poop bags, and increasing the number of dog bins.
Councillor David Morsley said: “I think this is a case of hearts and minds – certain people are allowing their dogs to foul and we need to persuade them to pick up after their pets. I would like to see more bag dispseners in the area as a trial. I don’t think the stick of a fine will be enough – we need to use the carrot of encouragement.”
Councillor Colin Ginger said: “We need to have people prepared to be witnesses if we are to take people to court and solve this problem.”
Councillor John Last said the council also needed a written policy on the topic to show people the standards of behaviour expected.