Dog owners under investigation over alleged fouling incidents in Leiston
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Leaders of a Suffolk town’s clean-up campaign says it has not just enjoyed 15 minutes of fame and is still going from strength to strength – with plenty of new ideas to tackle the problems.
Leiston Dogs Mess Name And Shame (LDMNAS) hit the headlines around the world this summer after Hollywood star Hugh Grant tweeted “My hero” in reference to one member of the campaign group, Andrew Hawes, who was prepared to don camouflage in order to catch out the culprits and take their photo.
Lorry driver Mr Hawes, 43, said there was still huge interest in the campaign, which is currently working with ITN/ITV on a documentary on the fight against dog owners who don’t clean up to be aired in March next year, and also on a short film for the BBC’s One Show.
He said: “We have daily reports of dog mess in Leiston and the surrounding area and currently have five owners being investigated by the environmental health services.
“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.
“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 also cleaned the town’s 33 dog bins, many of which were overgrown and little-used, and published details of all the locations on its Facebook page.
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Mr Hawes has now asked the town council to get involved.
He said a number of new ideas were being looked at, including using DNA to match dog waste to dogs, currently being trialled in Essex, with a veterinary clinic in Leiston keen to investigate such an option.
Other possible projects include dawn patrols around the town to catch dog walkers, using shops’ CCTV cameras to observe people on the pavements outside, on-the-spot fines for dog walkers caught not carrying a supply of poo bags, and setting aside areas in parks for dogs to exercise to reduce fouling.
The group felt there had been a change in dog ownership since fouling laws were introduced in 1996 and there was a need to look at the locations of bins in the town – in some places bins were overflowing and more were needed, but in others walkers’ routes appeared to have changed.