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Somerton's pledge to prosecute over dog poo problems

By Western Gazette - South Somerset  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

Somerton Town Council chairman Eirian Williams, Councillor Barrie Davies, Councillor Sharon Coates, her dog Timmy, and enforcement officer Lynette Osment with the blue-ringed dog poo

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Outrage at the amount of dog poo messing up Somerton’s streets has led to a pledge to prosecute thoughtless dog owners.

Somerton Town Council chairman Eirian Williams has urged the public to be vigilant and report the offenders so they can be fined.

At a recent council meeting he said: “Our pavements, car parks and roads are being used as toilets.

“There is a health issue here for kids as they can get it in their eyes and it is just not pleasant.

“This dog fouling issue is not the dogs’ fault but the owners who fail to take responsibility.

“If it takes prosecution then that is what it takes.

“If anyone sees someone they should have words with them or, if they don’t want to confront them, report them to the district council.”

South Somerset District Council dog wardens can issue fixed-penalty notices to owners who fail to clean up the mess left after their dogs and they also carry out patrols.

To raise awareness, wardens have been spray painting dog mess blue but Mr Williams said this had not deterred anyone.

He said: “It seems the blue dog poo is not enough for some people and piles of poo have appeared right next to it.

“It is totally unacceptable in my opinion.

“I walk my dog and I don’t leave the mess lying in the street. I don’t think anyone should have to clean up after other people’s dogs.”

Councillor Sharon Coates said she had received a number of complaints from parents concerned about the health risk to children.

She said: “We also had a problem this time last year and I think it is down to the dark nights and people don’t think they will be seen. It is really not nice because a lot of the pathways are used by children walking to school.”

Councillor Margaret Chambers added: “None of us would let our children poo in the street so why should dog owners?”

Councillor Ian Neale said offenders should be “named and shamed”.

Town clerk Rodger Calderwood said that if a member of the public witnesses someone leaving dog poo they can report it to the district council with a description of the owner and dog. He said the town council could put posters up to help identify the offenders.

Lynette Osment, enforcement officer at the district council, said Behind Berry, Kirkham Street and West Street were constant problem areas despite several dog bins.

She said: “The public should be aware that dog poo in a public place should be removed immediately – this includes road, pavements, public footpaths, bridleways etc.

“Anyone witnessing someone who does not clear up after their dog can report this to the district council on 01935 462462 with a description of the person and the dog. All communication is in confidence.”

She added: “Thank you to all the responsible dog owners that do clear up after their dog.”

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