'Vile' and 'disrespectful' - readers hit out over dog muck blighting Sheffield

Linda Revill spotted this sign in Lower Shiregreen. While we had to clean up the language a little, we agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment
Linda Revill spotted this sign in Lower Shiregreen. While we had to clean up the language a little, we agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment
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More dog wardens, fines for owners caught without bags and publicly shaming those responsible - these are just some of measures proposed by Star readers to tackle the dog mess blighting Sheffield.

But most of all people just want pet owners to do their duty by bagging it and binning it, before someone else ends up stepping in it.

The Star revealed last week how complaints about dog fouling to Sheffield Council had nearly trebled over the past five years, but only 10 fines had been issued in all that time.

That prompted a flurry of responses from readers expressing their disgust at irresponsible dog owners where they live, with some suggesting how to clamp down on the filthy behaviour.

Kristie Boyes said she sometimes feels like she is the only one cleaning up after her dog in the S2 area, adding 'we need more doggy bins around'.

Jimmy Sherwin said there were some 'really disrespectful' people letting their dogs foul outside St Joseph's Catholic Academy in Handsworth.

"I've noticed people have even gone to the length of circling the dog mess with chalk and writing 'shame on you!'," he added.

Peter Lambert suggested anyone caught walking their dog without a bag in which to collect its muck should be fined as they clearly have no intention of cleaning up after their pet.

Diane Smith claimed more dog wardens were needed, with just two currently covering the whole city. She also said she had asked the council for a dog bin where she lived but was told this could only be provided if homeowners there paid for the bin and its upkeep.

But Heather Verity said the shortage of dog bins was 'no excuse', adding: "I walk miles carrying bags of poo home and just put them in my bin or any bin I walk past."

The Star revealed how by far the most complaints about dog muck last year originated from the S6 area, and from Walkley in particular.

But readers said that was not the only hot spot for dog mess, with Chapeltown, Norton, S8, Shiregreen and Gleadless among the other areas mentioned.

While some people said the council could be doing more to tackle the problem - including Lucy Clague, who expressed her bemusement at being told warning signs could not be affixed to the new LED lampposts - most readers said the blame lay squarely with the dog owners.

Bruce Crowther criticised their 'complete lack of respect for others', Natalie Bradish branded their actions 'vile' and Alex Haslam stated 'if you don't like picking up your dog's mess then don't have a dog'.

Several people also berated those who went to the trouble of bagging up their dog's dirt only to throw the bag on the ground or in people's gardens, or to hang it from trees and hedges.

A spokeswoman for Streets Ahead, the street improvement and maintenance programme run by Sheffield Council and contractor Amey, said: "We know that dog fouling is a concern for many people in Sheffield, and we continue to take action against the small minority of people who do allow their dogs to foul in our streets and parks."

The council employs two dog control officers and many environmental officers with the power to issue fines for dog fouling.

There are around 350 dog bins across the city, and, since 2012, 500 additional on-street bins have been provided by Streets Ahead, with dog owners also encouraged to use standard litter bins to dispose of their pooch's mess.

The Streets Ahead spokeswoman said trials showed mobile warning signs reduce dog fouling in hot spots, and said pet owners were encouraged to always carry bags and to be 'vigilant' of dog walkers who allow their pets to spoil the environment for others.

"We'd urge everyone to report occasions where they see dog-fouling offences taking place so that we can take the appropriate actions and issue the related penalties to those responsible," she added.

* To report dog fouling to Sheffield Council, call Streets Ahead on 0114 273 4567.

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