Drastic action may need to be taken to stop dog fouling on a seaside town’s pier, after the structure is being drowned in dirt.
Simon Baxter, harbour-master at Warkworth Harbour Commissioners, has told the Gazette that he fights a daily battle against owners who do not pick up after their pets.
And he has warned that a last-ditch solution could be to put gates up at Amble Pier.
“The situation is totally unacceptable,” he said.
“It gets worse in the winter because it gets dark earlier.
“I pick up 12 separate bits of dirt on a daily basis on the wooden jetty and it is a problem.
“The knock-on effect may be fitting gates to the pier to keep people off because I can’t spend an hour a day collecting dog waste.
“I don’t want to close it off but putting gates up could be a last-ditch attempt to stop it.”
Mr Baxter believes the dog-fouling issue could impact on the number of visitors to the area.
He said: “It does put tourists off. They come to the harbour, but if they see dog waste I am certain that they won’t be a return customer.”
He admits that it is only the small minority of owners who are spoiling it for everybody else.
He added: “It is probably only one per cent of people who don’t do it. Most dog owners are disgusted at what goes on.
“There are plenty of bins at the harbour on the way to the pier itself.”
Amble mayor Craig Weir said that the town council has a rolling programme of replacing bins around the town and is putting stickers on ordinary bins to make people aware that they can put dog waste in them, as long as it is bagged.
He added that the main areas of concern were the green spaces used by children.
The problem of dog dirt has also been raised in Alnwick.
One parent, who did not want to be named, contacted the Gazette to voice her frustration at the problem.
She said: “It is disgusting. Our paths are in a stinking mess because they are covered in dog muck.
“Everyday in life one of my kids comes home covered in the stuff. It’s not on. Why can’t people just pick it up?”
Alnwick town and county councillor Gordon Castle said dog fouling in Alnwick was a continuing problem.
He added: “The complainant has my sympathy. I put my foot in some in St Michael’s Lane last week and nothing makes you more angry.
“Most dog owners are responsible, but unfortunately there are one or two who are not. It is not the fault of the animal, but that of the owner.”
He added that there is a dog warden and Northumberland County Council is taking the problem seriously and the number of fines and fixed penalty notices issues for this type of offence had increased.
For information about how to report a dog-fouling offence, visit www.northumberland.gov.uk and click on the public protection tab.