Anger over mess left by dog owners

Sue Clement with the dog waste which had been bagged but abandoned at St Aidans in Seahouses.
Sue Clement with the dog waste which had been bagged but abandoned at St Aidans in Seahouses.

FURIOUS residents from across north Northumberland have made their disgust known over the rising tide of dog dirt swamping their streets, following the launch of the Gazette’s Scoop The Poop campaign.

As soon as our story appeared on the front page of last week’s edition, the phones were ringing with readers reporting the amount of fouling in their own towns and villages, from Seahouses in the north to Hadston in the south.

Some of our correspondents complained of a lack of dog bins in their area, but most were just plain angry that lazy owners were brazenly flouting the law and failing to clear up after their pets.

Their evidence points to a developing trend, with offenders appearing to allow their dogs to foul footpaths and public areas either early in the morning or after dark, when they are least likely to be spotted.

Sandra Archbold rang in to raise the situation in Seahouses, where she lives, saying it was getting worse.

“All the way down Dunstan View, right to the cliff tops, there is dog dirt,” she said. “On the harbour hill there is a row of memorial benches where people usually sit in the sun to eat their fish and chips, but seeing all the fouling there, I can’t imagine them having much of an appetite.

“There is a lack of dog bins along the cliff tops, where many dogs are walked, which needs to be addressed.”

Sue Clement, of St Aidans, has now taken up the unenviable task of picking up discarded bags of dog waste. On Monday alone, she collected 15 along the half-mile stretch which runs parallel with the beach between Broad Road and the village.

“The problem here is that there is no bin to dispose of dog mess,” she said. “Every time I walk into the village, I find bags deposited on the pavement or in the gutters. I’ve now started carrying plastic bags and rubber gloves to remove it myself.

“There desperately needs to be a bin on this route, as it’s the main walk to and from the beach.”

Tom Dent, who lives at Broad Road, said the volume of mess could create a bad impression for the thousands of tourists who flock to Seahouses each year.

“The last thing visitors want is to have to watch their shoes, but that’s the advice we will have to give if this doesn’t improve,” he said. “You can’t walk along St Aidans in the dark without running the risk of stepping in something unpleasant. It’s encouraging to see dog owners bagging the waste, but it defeats the purpose if they are then dumping them.”

County councillor Pat Scott said: “There is a dog bin at the Broad Road entrance to Seahouses, but the land at St Aidans is owned by the National Trust. The majority of people are very responsible and do take their bags away with them and it’s a shame that a small minority don’t do the same.”

Linda Bell, of Hadston, got in touch to highlight the mess blighting her community – despite a number of bins provided.

“There’s dog dirt all through the village, right the way down into Red Row,” said Mrs Bell, of Hedgehope. “Druridge Avenue and the Precinct are appalling. You would think there had been a horse down there. The parish council did a good job of getting bins but some people are ignoring them.”