THE FREE Press is asking Bridlington residents to name and shame the worst areas in the town for dog dirt.
Today, we launch a campaign to keep Bridlington tidy, ahead of a big year which will see the town host the Olympic torch relay, as well as a predicted surge in tourists on the back of national recognition from world famous artist David Hockney and a new tourism campaign from tourism body Visit England.
The call comes after it was confirmed that only three fines were handed out to dog owners by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s dog wardens in the whole of last year.
And a number of Free Press readers have contacted us to say the problem is getting worse.
Bridlington Town Councillor Liam Dealtry believes that dog dirt is a big issue in the town – and that more can be done to tackle the problem.
“It’s a huge problem and one that people quite rightly get angry about,” said Coun Dealtry.
“There are lots of civil enforcement officers patrolling the town whose job it is to give out parking tickets.
“I believe that they should be given the powers to give out fixed penalty noticesto those that they see letting their dogs foul on the street, in the same way the old community wardens used to.”
However a spokesperson for East Riding of Yorkshire Council said as legislation currently stands, the parking wardens could not be asked to take on the role.
Coun Dealtry joined dog walkers including Rudding Drive resident Zoe Hart at Kirkham Road park, off Bempton Lane, to clean up some of the muck. But he said the public should not have to take that responsibility upon themselves.
“It is a very tough job to be a dog warden as we all know the East Riding is a big area and obviously you can’t be everywhere at once.
“People need to report things to the council and hopefully that will force people into cleaning up after their pets. It is a shame that people have to come out and clean up this sort of thing, but obviously it is wonderful to see people have such pride in their town.”
Zoe Hart, 27, loves taking her six-month-old German Shepherd Blade for walks around the park at Kirkham Road, near her home.
“My previous dog didn’t really enjoy going out and socialising with other dogs, but Blade is completely different,” said Zoe.
“He really enjoys it, but when I saw the amount of mess that was left about I decided I wanted to do something. There are quite a few of us who get together and walk our dogs so I decided to do something to clean the area up for all of the responsible dog walkers.”
Zoe said that some dog walkers had been picking up the mess, but throwing the bags into a wooded area near the park – which led her to take action.
“It’s disgusting to have to see it and I just wanted to do something about it. I love nature, I was influenced by my grampa to respect it and keep the outdoors clean,” said Zoe.
She said she would continue to keep an eye out for dog mess in the area to avoid all dog walkers being unfairly labelled.
“I was sworn at when I asked an older gentleman to pick up after his dog. It isn’t the dog’s fault, it’s those irresponsible owners,” she said.
Currently there are nine wardens in the East Riding, who concentrate on dealing with dogs, as well as pests, which means there is the equivalent of 4.5 full time dog wardens in the East Riding.
Dogs are currently banned from Bridlington’s North and South beaches between May 1 and September 30, with a fixed penalty notice of £75 issued to those caught.
The £75 notices are also handed out to owners caught not cleaning up after their dogs have left a mess.