Harlech man's awareness campaign about clearing-up after your pet
A Harlech resident and dog owner recently decided to take the lead on dog fouling matters in his area by targeting an awareness campaign at owners who fail to pick-up after their pets in public areas of the community.
Joe Patton decided that the best way to achieve his objectives was to adopt a “hearts and minds” approach and so he contacted teachers at Ysgol Tan y Castell who then worked with the children in producing colourful posters. Joe then contacted Gwynedd Council’s Tidy Towns Officer, Jonathan Neale, who supported the campaign with free biodegradable dog waste bags.
Joe also then launched his “Keep Harlech Beautiful” on-line social media campaign and encouraged local residents to spread the word about his forthcoming initiative. Joe’s campaign and visitor survey ran for eight weeks from July to September during which time he spoke with 350 different dog owners and counted the number of dog faeces along each path surveyed.
Joe Patton said: “I’m very pleased to report that my campaign has resulted in a decrease of 74% in dog fouling on Harlech’s paths, and this was achieved during the high season when the local canine population was four times its normal level. I’d like to thank everyone for their contribution and especially to the local community who responded brilliantly.”
Local Gwynedd Councillor Freya Bentham, noted: “I’m very grateful to Joe for his tireless efforts to raise awareness and for his amazing success in reducing dog fowling in the Harlech area. We’re so privileged to be living in such a wonderful landscape here, and the last thing we need is dog mess to spoil the sense of freedom and safety in the town and on the Morfa.”
Gwynedd Council’s Highways and Municipal Cabinet Member, Gareth Wyn Griffith, added: “It’s great to see that dog owners in Gwynedd are – with a little help – educating other dog owners to prevent anti-social behaviour. Dog fouling is our biggest complaint – not only is it offensive but it’s also a health hazard, especially when it enters the soil where children play or on sports grounds.”
Many dogs are infected with parasites which can be harmful to people, especially children. Toxocariasis is a disease caused when the eggs of toxocara worms are transferred from dogs to people through infected dog mess or soil. Infection can lead to illness and even blindness.
In Gwynedd it is a criminal offence to take a dog onto designated children’s play areas, school grounds, sports pitches and certain beaches (April-September) or to allow your dog to foul any public space. Offenders are liable to receive a £100 fixed penalty, with failure to pay potentially leading to a court summons and a fine of up to £1,000.
For more information regarding Gwynedd Council’s Tidy Towns scheme, contact the team on 01766 771 000 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tidy Towns initiative is funded by Welsh Government, with the aim of improving the quality of the local environment.
PHOTOGRAPH: Joe Patton from Harlech has been doing his bit in encouraging other dog owners to clear-up after their pets