Bottesford dog owners have started a campaign to tackle fouling in the village, and are using innovative methods to encourage others to pick up after their pooches.
Dismayed at the growing amount of dog poo left on the village’s footpaths and grass verges, in particular around Bottesford Primary School on Barkestone Lane, by the church, railway station, and on the High Street, residents Helen Duffy and Kerri Ward have decided to create an action group.
Having two dogs herself and the owner of a sitting and walking service, Miss Duffy is well placed to come up with practical solutions to the problem, as is fellow dog owner Mrs Ward, who is one of many parents unhappy at the amount of dog waste left where children walk to and from Bottesford Primary School.
Along Barkestone Lane doggy deposits are even to be found directly in front of a dedicated bin, bag dispenser and numerous signs, and, as such, the school is getting involved and holding information sessions with the Dogs Trust.
The Trust is in regular contact with the campaigners, as are Melton Borough Council. On Thursday Miss Duffy was joined by environmental health technician Kirsty Dolan in spraying ‘no fouling’ stencils on the pavements in hotspot areas. Ms Dolan explained: “The stencils aim to remind dog owners and carers that it is their responsibility to clean up after a dog they are in charge of. Those who fail to do so face a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50 and prosecution which can result in a fine of up to £1000.”
However the campaign group are keen to emphasize it is about the village coming together to solve the issue, not about pointing fingers.
“It is not a witch-hunt,” said Miss Duffy. “We want to find positive and proactive ways to keep our beautiful village clean for everybody.”
The group’s dedication to keeping Bottesford clean is matched by their inventiveness, such as placing flagged cocktail sticks to highlight both the extent and location of dog mess, along with an idea to create ‘dog poo telephone trees’ for the disabled who may struggle to pick up after their pets to contact volunteers.
The campaign group are also supplying local businesses with dog poo bags, and putting up posters with advice from the national Keep Britain Tidy initiative.
Residents who want to get involved in the campaign are invited to come with their suggestions to the next group meeting at the Red Lion pub on March 9 at 8pm. Free dog poo bags are also available at the village’s Spar, Co-op, library and at The Bull Inn and Rutland Arms. You can also get in contact with Helen Duffy by calling 07551 677288