Leighton pensioner and professional dog walker Jean Batey is calling for a get tough campaign against fellow pet owners who are turning the town’s streets and parks into one big toilet.
The 68-year-old snapped when she saw a woman allow her dog to poo just a few yards from a group of young children playing in Parson’s Close Recreation Ground on Thursday. She stormed around to Leighton-Linslade Town Council demanding more is done to educate pet owners.
This week both the town council and Central Beds Council said that dog owners face stiff fines if they are seen not clearing up after their mutts.
Mrs Batey, of Church Street, said she feels angry that other people don’t feel the need to clear up while out dog walking.
She said: “I never go anywhere without a pocket full of nappy sacks and I don’t understand while other people don’t do the same.
“Everywhere you walk these days around Leighton there are piles of dogs’ mess. It’s just bone idleness. You see dogs fouling in a park and there are young children close by. I watched one person hide their dog’s poo under a pile of leaves. Children love playing in leaves and I was horrified at the thought of them putting their hands in it. There are diseases they can get from dog poo which can be fatal.
“I feel so helpless. I’m just an old lady. I can’t go up to someone and tell them to pick up their dog’s mess because, at the least, I would get a mouth full of abuse and, at worst, could be attacked.
“The mess is far worse in the town during the winter months because people take their dogs out under the cover of darkness and they think that no-one can see them.
“I have a piece of grass in front of my flat and I watch people living nearby let their dogs use it as a toilet. It’s disgusting. Leighton-Linslade is an absolute disgrace. It’s not just in one area, it seems all over the place. The pavements are a nightmare to negotiate.
“We need a campaign. There are plenty of blank walls around the town which could be used for big posters. It’s pointless putting these little tiny signs on lampposts which no-one sees.”
Town council spokesman, Lisa Jarvis, said they were very proactive in trying to get the clean-up message across.
She said: “We are always running campaigns, particularly as we enter Anglia In Bloom. We have 45 bins in the town’s parks, which is the areas that we are responsible for, and they are emptied twice a week and we will always consider putting in another bin if there is an area where people think more are needed.”
A spokesman for Central Beds Council said that the authority took dog fouling “very seriously”.
She said: “We have a dog warden service and part of their remit is to educate dog owners on dog welfare, and monitor areas for dog fouling.
“Dog fouling is an offence under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act (1996), and the dog wardens will issue a fixed penalty notice if they witness an offence. The maximum fine is £75 (or £50 if paid within 14 days), and this increases significantly if the case goes to court.
“Residents may report specific areas where there is a high incidence of dog-fouling to request that the dog warden patrols the area. Residents may also report details or descriptions of people known to allow their dogs to foul in the area, to the council for a warden to investigate.
“The wardens can monitor certain areas and, in conjunction with Central Beds officers, may place additional signage, warning people of fines for dog fouling.”
Anyone with information about dog fouling or who wants to ask that an area be cleaned should call 0300 300 8643.