Public help is ‘desperately’ needed to help catch dog owners who allow their pets to leave mess on pavements.
Wyre Council has put systems in place for people to report offenders – but unless they use them, officers say their work is nothing more than a stab in the dark.
Alan Fitzpatrick, who heads a team of environmental officers in Wyre, said an online system is the most effective way of reporting dog fouling.
He said: “The online system allows people to report fouling by tapping the location on to a map.
“This allows us to build up a picture of hot spot areas and a register of where the highest number of incidents are.
“We can then link our environmental patrols to that particular area.
“In December alone we have 179 reports across the borough resulting in 900 patrols.
“It is absolutely crucial that the public report it, otherwise its a stab in the dark for us.”
A recent Wyre Life survey found 40 per cent of people stating dog fouling was their biggest concern – a worrying statistic for Alan and his team.
“If we are walking around with Wyre Council jackets on, people will certainly pick up. In fact if there is anyone around, they will pick up, it’s at the quieter times when there’s no-one around,” he said.
“Some hot spot places are seasonal, such as Cleveleys beach. It’s a popular dog walking area in spring and summer but not in the winter when its windy and the tide is coming over the wall.
“However our problem is we have to catch them in the act and we desperately need the public to help us with that.”
The other way people can help is by signing a statement saying they have seen a particular dog fouling the streets on a certain day with a certain person, pinpointing the time. That information can then be used to issue a fixed penalty.
Alan said: “The person reporting the fouling will be anonymous, unless it goes to court. Taking photos is also acceptable. We managed to issue a penalty to someone who was snapped allowing their dog to foul in a car park.
“We also work with the DVLA. If we spot someone but they get in a car before we can get to them, we use the car’s registration to track down the keeper of the vehicle. The fine is £75 and more often than not it will be paid by the embarrassed dog walker. It’s rare we get a non-payment. We want to engage with the public and educate them. At the end of the day it’s not about issuing fines, its about creating a better environment.”
There are five officers patrolling the borough, two based in Fleetwood. Fleetwood’s hot spots include the prom and beach area, Chaucer Road, the pitch ’n’ putt, Memorial Park and Larkholme Parade.