A new initiative has been launched in Northumberland to tackle dog fouling and promote responsible dog ownership.
Northumberland County Council is introducing the Green Dog Walkers scheme, which will be a community-led programme.
The campaign seeks to promote Northumberland as a welcoming place for responsible dog walkers, but to emphasise that it is not a place that tolerates irresponsible dog owners, whether they are residents or visitors.
Local dog walkers are now being encouraged to join the scheme by signing the Green Dog Walkers pledge.
Those signing up agree to always clean up after their dog and put the bag in a bin and to use a friendly approach to encourage other dog walkers to do the same.
The county council will provide a Green Dog Walkers support kit to local community groups and individuals who want to get involved.
Green Dog Walkers will be sent a green armband to wear when walking their dog to help draw attention to the scheme. They will also be sent green doggy bags and pledge leaflets.
The council also wants to raise awareness of the need for dogs to be kept under control at all times in public spaces. This includes out in the open countryside to avoid worrying farm animals and disturbing wildlife.
Volunteers taking part in the new Coast Care initiative – helping to care for and nurture the fine Northumberland landscape and wildlife – are working in partnership with the county council to support the Green Dog Walkers scheme.
Coastal volunteers will be wearing the Green Dog Walkers armband, handing out free poop bags to dog walkers and encouraging them to take the campaign pledge.
Animal welfare officers from the council’s Public Health Protection Unit will be supporting the volunteers.
The scheme is intended to be a non-confrontational approach to changing attitudes to the problem of dog fouling. It will complement other existing council approaches across the county, including fining irresponsible dog owners.
For details and a pledge form, visit www.northumber land.gov.uk/greendogwalkers