Bolton Council has launched the second phase of the ‘Love Bolton hate litter’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness and educate people in changing their behaviours towards their local environment.
This second campaign will highlight to residents the importance of cleaning up after their dogs and will focus on education and awareness-raising of the problems caused by dog fouling.
It will also be supported by enforcement against offenders who allow their dogs to foul.
The campaign has been in launched in response to public demand, as the council receives over 500 complaints a year about dog waste. Furthermore, a consultation carried out at area forums showed dog waste was one of the top three concerns for residents and the majority of the public wanted more education and more enforcement carried out to discourage it.
The ampaign was launched on Saturday 13 March in Moses Gate Park, where K9, the council’s giant mascot will be handed out free bone-shaped dog bag holders which attach to dog collars or leads.
Council staff will be visiting locations around Bolton throughout March and April, including Bolton town centre, Tonge Park, Queens Park, Moss Bank Park and Leverhulme Park and handing out over 7,000 of these dog bag holders, which people can use to cleanly dispose of their dog waste in any litter bin. The holders, which contain a supply of bags, will also available from the Bolton News office and the council’s one stop shop.
Staff will be educating people and encouraging them to think of the consequences of dog fouling, which can include toxocariasis, an infection which causes epileptic fits and blindness. The campaign will also include branded posters, and calling cards, as well as branded leaflet holders and leaflets installed in vets surgeries, pet shops and other places which pet owners may visit.
The educational arm of the campaign will also be supported by enforcement. The council recently launched a zero tolerance policy on irresponsible dog owners, which has seen the introduction of new dawn to dusk patrols by enforcement officers in problem areas. The council is also planning to train more officers to take part in enforcement, such as PCSOs and park wardens. Offenders face the prospect of a £75 fixed penalty notice and failure to pay can result in prosecution and a fine of up to £1000.
As part of the campaign, enforcement officers will be targeting the 48 top dog fouling hotspots across the borough, which have been nominated by a combination of intelligence from the public and officers’ own knowledge. Staff will be first targeting the area with an education patrol, which will deliver a calling card with the strapline ‘We’re not messing, are you?’ The calling card encourages residents to take a stand against dog fouling in their area by reporting any offenders by phone or online, giving full descriptions of the owner, dog, times and locations.
Any intelligence provided by the public in these areas is then used to inform the visits of dawn to dusk enforcement patrols, who will focus on catching offenders allowing their dog to foul.
Over the past three years to January 2010, the council has handed out 86 Fixed Penalty Notices for offences relating to dog fouling, with 10 people prosecuted in the courts. Since the zero tolerance policy was launched in January this year, officers have also handed out a further 10 fines for dog-related offences
The first part of the ’Love Bolton, hate litter’ campaign focused on litter caused by cigarette butts. Future phases will begin over the next few months looking at commercial waste and flytipping.
Cllr Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, Executive Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer, said:
“Dog fouling is an area of serious concern for residents and the council receives over 500 complaints a year about the issue. It can be a health risk, especially for young children and can lead to problems with sight and even epilepsy.
In response to this concern, this campaign is aimed at changing attitudes and behaviour and encouraging people to take responsibility for their own dog poo. We will also be enforcing a zero tolerance approach to those allowing their dogs to foul in public areas and encouraging residents to report any regular offenders in their areas. We will be carrying out dawn and dusk patrols in problem hotspots and will be issuing on the spot fixed penalty notices to anyone caught not cleaning up after their dogs.
We hope to educate residents and encourage them to keep Bolton clean and take ownership of their street, their parks and their town.”