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Parks Call Time On Foul Play
Monday 23rd November, 2009

DOG walkers in Wigan and Leigh are being warned they face a “double whammy” fine if they’re caught hanging bags of dog waste from trees.

From 1 January 2010 parks officers will issue notices for dog fouling and littering in parks across Wigan and Leigh.

And anyone caught bagging their dog’s waste and leaving it hanging from a tree will face a joint fine of £130 for littering and dog fouling.

Sharon Saunders, Parks and Countryside Activities Manager for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, said: “We want people to enjoy visiting our parks and not be put off by this unpleasant way people are disposing of their dog’s waste.

“This type of behaviour isn’t unique to Wigan and Leigh but over the last 12 months we have noticed an increase in the amount of bags our officers are having to remove from trees or railings and it is simply unacceptable.”

Sharon added: “We acknowledge that the majority of dog owners are socially responsible but the message to those who continue to persist hanging dog bags from trees is simple; either pick up and place in a bin or be prepared to pay up.”

Each year WLCT's parks team issue more than 20,000 ‘poop bags’ to responsible dog owners, WLCT is also trialling bag dispensers at various parks across the borough.

Poop bags can also be picked up from libraries, community centres and the Environmental Services Department.

Throughout December parks officers will be issuing warnings to people not picking up after their dogs and littering but from 1 January 2010 these offences will result a fixed penalty notice of £50 for dog fouling and £80 for littering.

Wigan Council’s environment champion Coun David Molynuex said: “Not picking up after your pooch is unhealthy, unsightly and disrespectful to the rest of the people who use our parks.

“This tiny minority must clean up their act or face the penalty.”

The enforcement is supported by Wigan based Keep Britain Tidy.

Dickie Felton from Keep Britain Tidy said: “There really is no excuse for dog owners to treat Wigan's parks as a giant toilet.

“The message is clear. If you don't clean up after your pet you will be fined.

“Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust is right to get tough on offenders and it is working hard to offer solutions with thousands of poop bags handed out too.

"Dog owners need to clean up after their pet and ensure that the mess ends up in a bin not dangling from railings or the nearest tree.”

It’s estimated the nation’s dogs produce 1,000 tonnes of excrement a day. Persistent littering can incur a maximum fine of £2,500.

The biggest threat to public health from dog excrement is toxocariasis which can cause blindness, dizziness, nausea, asthma and epileptic fits especially in children.

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