Monday, 27 September 2021

Pick up after your dog, says father

A FATHER from Henley has launched a one-man campaign to rid his neighbourhood of dog muck.

A FATHER from Henley has launched a one-man campaign to rid his neighbourhood of dog muck.

Anthony Wootton, 36, of Grove Road, has attached signs and poo bags to lampposts in his street and surrounding roads because he says the problem has become so bad.

Mr Wootton, who has two young sons, Louis, three, and Ben, one, with his wife Julia, said many children played in the streets and he didn’t want them put at risk of disease.

Dog faeces carry diseases that can affect humans, such as toxocariasis, which can lead to blindness.

Mr Wootton said: “It has got to a point where you think ‘enough’s enough’ and something has got to be done.

“It has been happening continually for the last 12 to 18 months but I’ve really started to notice an increase since the turn of the year. The final straw was when there was a big mess right outside the front door of a  pensioner.

“A couple of days later Julia had to pretty much get off the path with the buggy to avoid the dirt on the corner. There have been occasions when it has been right outside our front door. When it’s literally on your own doorstep it’s just not pleasant.”

Mr Wootton, a BBC Radio Berkshire producer, said there was a strong sense of community in the area.

“We all kind of look out for one another around here and that’s why I thought I’d try to do something to keep the area clean,” he said.“There are countless children playing, running around and the last thing we want is one of them falling over or treading in it.”

Mr Wootton’s sign reads: “Hi dogs, please remind your owner/walker to clear up after your number twos. In case you left yours at home have one of these. Please help to keep our neighbourhood clear of dog faeces.”

He said: “It’s written in a way that’s friendly and I’m really just politely saying, ‘if you need a bag, if that is a problem, here’s one’. It’s not nice walking into town on public streets and having to avoid it.”

He has attached about five bags with each of the signs in Grove Road, Marmion Road, Grange Road and Park Road.

Mr Wootton added: “I have bought a lot of bags so if the idea catches on I’ll refill but I’d like to see an end to the problem really.” Dog bins have been installed in public areas around the town by Henley Town Council and these are emptied by contractors working for South Oxfordshire District Council.

Town clerk Mike Kennedy said: “The responsibility for litter is the district council’s. Dog faeces is litter, de facto the district council is responsible for picking up dog poo on the streets.

“That’s not to say the town council can’t install dog bins on the highway but I don’t believe we have in Henley before now.”

Police community support officers, acting on behalf of the district council, can issue fixed penalty notices of up to £80 to anyone over 18 caught allowing a dog to foul on the pavement and not picking it up.

A district council spokesman said: “We are also able to provide anti-fouling lamppost signage for areas where dog fouling is a concern.”

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