Where walkers fear to tread

Responsible dog walkers like these taking part in a charity dog walk at Landguard do clean up after

Responsible dog walkers like these taking part in a charity dog walk at Landguard do clean up after their pets - but there is growing concern over owners who do not clear up. - Credit: Archant

IT’S an unsavoury subject I have long avoided, but I can step round it no longer. Felixstowe’s streets are foul – or rather fouled, with the horrible mess left by dogs.

Dog bin - but not all dog owners use them.

Dog bin - but not all dog owners use them. - Credit: Archant

People in the town tell me that after some years of improvement, the pavements – and the prom – are getting worse again and in many places you have to watch very carefully where you walk.

It always seems to fall to me when we are out walking to shout “dog to the left” or “dog to the right”. It’s very noticeable on country walks where the first few hundred yards of paths are almost always smeared and scattered with dog mess and then it peters out – either the dog always does its business at the start of its walk or the walk is very short.

It doesn’t take much effort to clear up after your dog as part of responsible pet ownership, and the town is littered with dog mess bins so there is always somewhere handy to stick it.

Of course, as with all problems of anti-social behaviour it is only a small minority who do the dirty.

I regularly see owners clearing up – and all members of bodies such as Felixstowe Dog Training Club always do so.

It’s interesting to see Suffolk Coastal council taking an active interest in the issue.

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One dog owner recently paid the penalty for failing to clear up after their pet fouled the pavements in the Cage Lane area of Walton after residents complained.

Following a tip-off, the culprit was caught in the act – at 4am one morning.

Andrew Nunn, cabinet member for the green environment, said: “This case just shows that even in the middle of the night, there is still the chance that those acting irresponsibly in our communities will get found out and pay the penalty.

“Any information that helps us catch the offenders will be gratefully received, and will of course be treated with the strictest confidence.”

Failure to clear up after a dog is a criminal offence, with potentially a maximum fine on conviction in court of £1,000 and a criminal record.

Fixed Penalty Notices of £80 can be issued to offenders as an alternative to being prosecuted, with the rate reduced to £60 if paid within seven days.