It was only a matter of time before I found myself having to write about dog fouling. It is a fact of councillor life that, eventually, it’s a complaint you receive. Indeed, over twenty years ago I joked about one of my teachers who was standing for council in the ward I lived in and had published a leaflet in which he promised to stamp out dog poo. I’m not sure my humour has become any more sophisticated since then.
But that makes light of what is a real quality of life issue and, quite separately, I’ve had two residents in the space of a week complaining about dog fouling on the Shaftesbury Park Estate. And living there I know how bad it is.
The council does do a lot and will prosecute irresponsible dog owners when we can. Wandsworth has the country’s largest dog control team and are nationally recognised as experts. The problem, however, is that people tend to become much more responsible when being watched, so simply having dog wardens on patrol simply shifts the problem to a road with no patrollers.
Because of this we are largely reliant on education. We will pay advisory visits to dog owners, and spend a lot of time in schools to educate youngsters about the need to clear up after dogs.
So what can you do? Well, if you are a dog owner, be a responsible dog owner and pick up after your pet.
If you are concerned about dog fouling and have some information let the council know. Dog control can be contacted on 020 8871 7606, or give me the information and I’ll pass it on. If you know who is responsible the information will be dealt with in confidence and the unit will pay an advisory visit to the dog owner. If you are prepared to make a statement we will consider prosecution. Even if you can just give locations, times and descriptions that will help.
For the Shaftesbury Park Estate I have asked the dog control unit to do an inspection in the area and, if possible, have a word with local dog owners, but this is one of those issues where the real solution is in the hands of those few dog owners residents who don’t clean up after their dogs.