Shoppers back campaign to shame dirty dog-owners

WARNING SIGNS ... animal welfare enforcement officer Frank Rowland, left, and Coun Ernest Gibson with one of the new warning posters being put up around South Tyneside.
WARNING SIGNS ... animal welfare enforcement officer Frank Rowland, left, and Coun Ernest Gibson with one of the new warning posters being put up around South Tyneside.

SOUTH Tyneside shoppers are backing a council drive to stop borough dog owners from fouling up.

Owners who fail to pick up their pets’ mess are being targeted by a new poster campaign.

It’s not the dogs’ fault – it’s the owners’. I always carry poo bags in my pocket. It’s simply the responsible thing to do.

Lorna Rodham

Glow-in-the-dark images, featuring a pair of eyes, are being put up on housing estates to remind people to clean up after their canines.

Statistics displayed on the poster reveal that nine out of 10 dog owners clean up after their pets – but the 10 per cent who don’t are putting people’s health at risk.

Dog waste is a host for toxicara, also known as roundworm, which can cause serious illness or blindness.

It usually affects children aged between one and four, but people of all ages are susceptible.

Lorna Rodham, 58, assistant manager at the YMCA shop in Ocean Road, South Shields, said: “I was leaving my house when I saw a woman in the street who had allowed her dog to foul. I said to her ‘are you going to pick that up?’. She said she had nowhere to put it.

“At that point, I went back into the house came back out and gave her some paper to pick it up with.

“I have two Yorkshire terriers, and I would never allow them to foul when I walk them without picking up after them.

“It’s not the dogs’ fault – it’s the owners’. I always carry poo bags in my pocket. It’s simply the responsible thing to do.

“I feel very strongly about this, and I congratulate the council for taking it seriously.”

Despite being 75, George Davison still works as a cleaner on the Tyne and Metro network and is currently based at South Shields station.

He said: “South Shields station is not too bad. The worst problem is at Simonside, especially along the path leading to the station.

“There must be a lot of dog owners living around there.

“We have to keep a close eye on it because checks are made every month, and my company, Churchill, faces a fine from Nexus if just one lot of dog dirt is spotted.”

The former British Rail freight guard added: “People should be responsible and scoop up after their pets. It makes cleaners’ lives easier too.”

Care worker and South Shields shopper Alistair May, 41, owner of a bull mastiff, added: “I wouldn’t go out of the house with my dog Bukowski without my pooper-scooper.

“People who allow their dogs to foul and then just walk away should be ashamed of themselves.”

Dave Smith, 56, a security guard at Gala Bingo in the Denmark Centre, South Shields, said: “We don’t have a problem with dogs fouling in here and don’t see much of a problem on the streets of the town.

“If I saw someone allowing their dog to foul, I wouldn’t intervene. I like to keep myself to myself.”

Jack Airton, 86, former head foreman and fitter at the Brigham and Cowan shipyard in South Shields, said: “I live in Prince of Wales Close in South Shields, and we only have one dog owner in the street, and fortunately they are very responsible.

“We also have lamp-posts warning against dog fouling. It’s not a big problem where I live.”

Sue Glossop-Freebody, 47, manager of the YMCA shop in South Shields, added: “It’s not just the risk to health – it’s also just such a nasty thing to walk in, dog dirt.

“If I walk friends’ dogs, I always ensure I have something to pick up with. It’s a public duty to do so.

“I don’t know if the public will take notice of these warning signs, but I applaud the council for at least trying.”