A NEW blitz on the owners of dirty dogs is being launched in Huddersfield.
Spot checks are to be made in Beaumont Park and other parks to catch dog walkers who do not clean up after their pets.
And those who fail to do so face getting £50 penalty fines from Kirklees Council’s park rangers and dog wardens.
It is the latest attempt in an on-going battle to get people to take responsibility for their dogs when exercising them in Kirklees parks and open spaces.
The Kirklees Park Rangers, who were appointed in 2005 to help make local parks safe and welcoming places for people of all ages to enjoy, have constantly campaigned for dog owners to 'pick it up' by handing out free
poo bags in the district's most popular dog-walking parks.
But, judging by the amount of dog excrement still being left behind, the 'softly, softly' approach is not working.
Now Beaumont Park Ranger Diane Clifford and her colleagues are taking more direct action to get the message across.
She said: “The dog warden and I spent a week blitzing Beaumont Park, handing out poo bags and gathering information about people who do not clean up after their pets.
“We now have an idea of who we are looking for and when they are in the park, and will be doing spot checks to try to catch them.
“The option of giving them a gentle reminder has not worked so now we have to go down the route of giving fines out to the owners, who just do not want to accept responsibility for their dogs.
“Some of them just let their dogs off the leads and have no idea what they do, while others bring their dogs into the park to do their business and then walk off.
“It’s about respect for all users of our parks”, said Diane who, like her colleagues in other parks across Kirklees, picks up dog poo on her patrols in efforts to keep the park clean.
“The park is to be enjoyed by all. Dog poo is unsightly, a health hazard to children and it is against the law to leave it behind - dog owners face a fixed penalty of £50 if caught”.
She has already handed out penalty fines and said many of those who had been given them accepted they were in the wrong.
Others protested or denied the dirty dogs were theirs, but had no option but to pay up.
“It’s £50 and that would buy a lot of bags in which to collect the mess.
“It’s a simple choice for them to make.
“I would guess that perhaps half of those who we do catch have children and they must realise the risks, both from a health point of view and from the mess that can be walked into a home”.
Diane, who is often accompanied on her park patrols by her Border Collie TJ, said that spot checks would also be carried in other parks across Kirklees.