Work in Durham to encourage dog owners to be more responsible has seen a “welcome fall” in the amount of dog fouling and stray dogs, Durham County Council has said.
The council first launched a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in 2017 to tackle both issues, making it an offence to allow a dog to stray, failing to keep dogs on a lead, or allowing dogs in designated play areas.
Since the launch of the order, reported cases of dog fouling have fallen by 45%. Since 2015, the number of reported strays reported has also fallen by more than a third.
The number of strays taken to kennels in the last year was 658, a 44% reduction since the launch of the order.
Aside from the effects of the PSPO, the county’s civic pride team regularly visits schools to talk about the importance of being a responsible dog owner.
Dog walkers are also encouraged to sign up a green dog walker scheme, pledging to always clean up after their pet and carry extra dog bags for other walkers who might need one.
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.”
He added: “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.”