Work to encourage dog owners to be more responsible has seen a welcome fall in the number of complaints about dog fouling and stray dogs in County Durham.
Durham County Council launched a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in 2017 to tackle issues such as dog fouling and stray dogs, making it an offence to allow a dog to stray, failing to keep a pet on a lead, or allowing dogs into designated play areas.
Since then, reported cases of dog fouling have fallen by 45 per cent.
As well as a welcome fall in those reports, the order has had a positive effect on the number of stray dogs found across the county.
Since 2015/6, the number of strays reported has fallen by more than a third and the number of strays taken to kennels in the last year was 658, a 44 per cent reduction.
The PSPO is one of several measures introduced to tackle these issues. The civic pride team regularly visit schools in the county to talk about the importance of being a responsible dog owner.
Dog walkers are also encouraged to sign up to the council’s green dog walker scheme, pledging to always clean up after their pet and carry extra dog bags for other walkers who might not have one to hand.
Neighbourhood Protection Manager, Ian Hoult, said: “We’re obviously pleased with this reduction in dog-related issues.
“It reflects the hard work that we’ve undertaken to keep our streets safe and clean. However, we do understand that these issues remain a concern for communities and we would reassure people that we will continue to focus our efforts on these.
“I’d also stress that we know the vast majority of people are responsible dog owners and that our work aims to tackle the minority.
“That’s why we will be continuing to engage with residents and encouraging them to sign up to the green dog walker scheme.
“We’d also encourage residents to let us know about anyone who isn’t being a responsible pet owner, either by calling us our going onto our website.”