Pupils at Ysgol y Traeth primary school have joined forces with a local conservation group in an initiative to combat dog fouling. The Barmouth Environmental Conservation Group (BECG), who manage Wern Mynach Nature Reserve, were successful last year in obtaining a Tidy Towns grant for improvements to the reserve.
During an environmental awareness week at nearby Ysgol y Traeth, the schoolchildren highlighted the problem of dog fouling as something they were worried about. Following this concern, Gwynedd Council’s Tidy Towns Officer Jonathan Neale was asked to visit the school to discuss local environmental issues with the children.
Following Mr Neale’s visit the children were involved in drawing colourful pictures urging dog owners to ‘Bag it and Bin it’. These pictures were then sent to a local design company who transferred some of the images from years 4, 5 and 6 onto aluminium signs suitable for using around the town to draw the public’s attention to the problem.
Headmaster of Ysgol y Traeth, Ywain Myfyr, said: “Children are the most vulnerable in our community to the health risks associated with dog fouling. The school is, therefore, very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Tidy Towns and Barmouth Environmental Conservation Group in highlighting the dog fouling problems locally.”
Gwynedd Council’s Senior Countryside Warden, Haydn Hughes, said: “Working with volunteers from BECG to improve the reserve has been a real pleasure, but better still has been seeing the children leading the way on dog fouling. It’s really important that we spread the message that dog mess must be cleared up as it can cause ‘toxocariasis’, which can lead to serious illness and even blindness. Children are particularly vulnerable to this.”
Cabinet Member Councillor Gareth Roberts, who leads the Council on Environmental issues added:
“It’s totally unacceptable that some people let their dogs foul in public places, but this offence seems so much worse when children suffer from the actions of a negligent minority of people who continue to flout the law.
“To further address this increasing problem and tackle such antisocial behaviour I am considering strengthening the Council’s existing powers. Such measures will enable the Council to put more emphasis on this criminal activity, as well as other aspects of irresponsible dog ownership.
“Being a dog owner can be a great experience but at the same time it means responsibility and a duty on the owner to protect the wider community. Society has made it clear that the irresponsible minority must comply or otherwise face the consequences.”
Failing to clear up after your pet is a criminal offence and those found to be responsible could face an on-the-spot fine of £75 and even a court summons and a maximum fine of £1,000.
If you’re a dog owner make sure you always carry plenty of poop-scoop bags with you when you walk your dog. Wrapped dog mess can be put in any public bin, or take it home and dispose of it responsibly. To request your free dog poop clean up kit contact Gwynedd Council on 01766 771000 or visit www.gwynedd.gov.uk/TidyTowns
Report dog fouling problems to Gwynedd Council on 01766 77100 or visit www.gwynedd.gov.uk/do-it-online and click on ‘Report’. Any information given will be treated in strictest confidence.
To run an awareness and education campaign in your community, contact the Council’s Tidy Towns Officer on 01766 771000 or e-mail TidyTowns@gwynedd.gov.uk Tidy Towns is funded by the Welsh Government.