Picking up the dog mess problem‎

The amount of dog mess on the streets of Alderley Edge is a disgrace.

I realise the problem is caused by a minority of dog owners but what is wrong with these people?, why do they think it is acceptable to leave this mess on the pavements?

In October we published an article Council vows to get tough on dog fouling but it doesn't seem to have made any difference in the village, infact the problem appears to be worse than ever.

I walk my daughters to and from school, and every day we have to avoid dog mess on route, it has become a daily challenge and has been particularly difficult to avoid recently down London Road, between the park and girl's school, and down Brook Lane because of the frequency of it on the pavements.

On Tuesday my mother-in-law stepped in some dog mess and last week a little girl in my daughter's class trod dog mess all around the classroom, which must have been particularly unpleasant.

Ironically, having drafted this article yesterday lunchtime, both my daughters came home from school, having been under grandad's watch, with dog mess on their shoes. The only saving grace is we noticed it before they stepped inside but I really resent having to clean it off because some dog owners are too selfish to pick up after their pets.

When we have visitors they regularly comment on the amount of dog mess in what is reported to be one of the most sought-after places to live in the UK.

One regular visitor contacted alderleyedge.com last month about this probem.

Patricia Wongsam said "I am extremely disappointed that, unlike others areas I visit regularly, there is no provision for dog waste and an encouragement for dog owners to collect their dogs waste and bin it.

"Over the last few days I have had to clean the pushchair wheels 3 times, and my shoes and the baby's wellingtons because of the amount of dog waste on your pavements.

"I am quite astounded at the amount of waste spreading over your streets. Surely your Council has to address this problem as you are way behind other areas, in my opinion."

It is illegal to fail to clear up after your dog if it fouls on any land which is open to the air and to which the public has access. The penalty for contravening the act is a £50 fixed penalty fine.

Back in October Cheshire East Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: "We will not hesitate to issue fixed penalty notices of £50 as part of tough action against irresponsible owners".

Clearly fixed penalties and the "tough action" are not an effective deterrent in Alderley Edge. Possibly due to a lack of enforcement, or maybe because £50 is not a sufficient amount.

A number of other local authorities around the country already have a higher penalty fee of £75 and one frustrated council in Lancashire recently asked the government to consider changing the law so that it could issue fines of £1,000. Perhaps Cheshire East should follow suit.

I contacted Cheshire East Council yesterday, even before my girls came home with their shoes caked in dog mess, to ask how many times the Community Wardens have visited Alderley Edge in the past 12 months and how many fixed penalty notices have been issued here. I'll let you know the response.

What do you think about the dog fouling on the pavements of Alderley Edge? Is it just me, or do others consider it to be a big problem in the village?

Do you think the fixed penalty should be increased or do you have any other ideas for tackling this problem?

Share your opinion in the comments below.

Dog Fouling


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Graham McLelland
Thursday 8th December 2011 at 4:47 pm
Not just on main footpaths but many people take their dogs to the park and leave mess, such a terrrible shame when people use the park to have mess like this, I have seen some park up in the little car park drop their kids at scholl then let their dogs free in the park.
Melanie Connor
Thursday 8th December 2011 at 7:00 pm
I brought this subject up at the last PC meeting in November and the Clerk immediately contacted CE to find out about the Dog Warden. Unfortunately we had to wait for a reply, which finally arrived last week! The Dog Warden asked us to come up with areas he would like us to look at.

The park is the major place, the walk from the station car park to Davy Lane - "Dog Poo Alley", Lydiat Lane and Brook Lane. i know there are many other areas as well. please let me know either at the council or through here, and i will get him to look at it.

I sometimes look after my brothers Collie. It is no hardship to carry a bag around with you. Most owners know when their dog is due to go and should be more responsible. I too watch people let them off the lead and then don't watch them, as well as seeing people just let their dogs go on th lead and move off!! Yes, I agree the fine should be higher and I would like to name and shame.
Plus, I am now on the lookout in the park for disposable nappies left lying around. Yuk
People should know better and have respect for health and for animal welfare.These people are spoiling it for responsible dog owners.
Kate Branagan
Thursday 8th December 2011 at 7:02 pm
I moved back to the village after ten years of living in Wilmslow and now regularly walk my Labradors around the side streets and through the village. I am never without bags to pick up and never fail to do so. I have also been known to offer bags to people and shame them into picking up after their dogs. I am horrified at how much dog mess I see in Alderley Edge. Until this year I walked my dogs at the Carrs ( where I and everyone I walked with always picked up) but now due to age and injury they need to be walked for short distances so I cannot comment as to whether the lack of picking up has increased or not, There is absolutely no reason not to pick up and I cannot understand why people do not. It gives people like myself a bad name and I am actually quite please when I am walking down the street with a full bag in hand so that people can look and think " oh good she picks up". There is a dog waste bin by the allotments and another one at the end of Stevens Street.. I have only walked my dogs in the park once this year and it was nice to be able to let them run free - however I STILL picked up. Perhaps a £50 fine is not enough for some people and maybe it should be raised but I doubt if any penalties have ever been given - will be interesting to see what the council say.
Melanie Connor
Thursday 8th December 2011 at 7:35 pm
Don't know for sure Kate about penalties but I shall certainly ask the question and get back to you. Incidently, you mentioned the Carrs. I saw quite a bit by the river the other day. Cleared some.
Will also see if more bins are needed and where they should be.
Jon Williams
Thursday 8th December 2011 at 8:07 pm
Speaking as a former Dog Warden who has worked for Macclesfield Borough Council, Stockport Borough Council and Bolton Council I am appalled at this behavour, it's so easy to pick up and you can't say I don't have a bag - we use supermarket bags!

I recently asked the dog warden for some stickers to put up on Upcast Lane nr the bottom of Brook Lane and I think it has helped, although the bin on the Wilmslow Sports field has plenty of poo bags in it now - still, better than on the lane or footpath.

From Cheshire East website:
The Dog (fouling of land) Act 1996 was adopted and means that:

It is illegal to fail to clear up after your dog if it fouls on any land which is open to the air and to which the public has access.

The penaly for contravening the act is a £50 fixed penalty fine. If the fine is not paid within 14 days, then this may lead to prosecution in a magistrates court with a maximum fine of a £1000.

Patrols are carried out in areas that are regulary fouled.
Yasmin Din
Thursday 8th December 2011 at 9:11 pm
We live on Trafford Road and have contacted the Dog Warden on at least two occasions in the last twelve months when it was virtually impossible to get out of the house and walk with my children to the Primary school, without going off the pavement and onto the road to avoid the dog mess. The dog warden has always been most helpful and arranged to have the pavements cleared but as he explained, unless we know who the culprits are there is very little that can be done to really address the problem.

At this time of year I've witnessed people covering their dog mess with fallen leaves, rather than pick up. So then the problem is even worse as you can't even see where it is to avoid it.

I can't see that introducing more bins will really help, as the problem seems to be more that people just don't pick up. The minority of dog owners need to be made aware the potential danger, the strength of feeling and that the law will be enforced. Is it possible to challenge anyone walking a dog to show that they are carrying bags? In particularly badly affected areas can CCTV footage be used?

It is infuriating that the minority spoil the enjoyment of the village for the majority. In Central Park in New York, dogs can only foul in specific areas, which are fenced off. Here, we fence off where the children play, and allow the dogs to foul anywhere!
Sarah Bailey
Thursday 8th December 2011 at 10:56 pm
They must believe defecating public space is acceptable. It doesn't seem to register with these people that they are leaving feces, excrement, poo, stools in the path of people, buggies, little feet and sometimes little hands! How does it need describing to hit home that it's simply defecation? Very poorly educated, ignorant or blatantly selfish. Regardless, they don't have a place in good society. I can't think of a single argument that could support an owner. It doesn't matter if it's one owner or many creating the problem. It's just not acceptable behaviour and should be tackled. What is the point in a fine that isn't enforced? It's not the amount that doesn't deter, it's the fact that it's inconsequential. Name and shame is the answer. Expose the culprits and council inertia. Simply start a movement on Facebook or YouTube. Lets see what happens then.
Frank Keegan
Friday 9th December 2011 at 7:15 am
Dogs should have to prove that their owners are responsible, because the owners do not act responsibly.

Why do people walk their dogs and not carry a bag to clear up after the dogs? It is a form of anti-social behaviour and perhaps persistent offenders should be issued with ASBO'S and banned from the local area for a period.

Dog wardens can help, of course they can. But we have a number of streets and the public purse cannot stretch to patrolling every street every day. Why should the public purse have to clear up after irresponsible owners?

Let us press forward with any action which actually changes the behaviour of the selfish humans! And let's make sure the exercise is cost neutral to the public purse - in other words if we have to deploy lots of resources to fix the problem, then the penalties against offenders must recover the costs.
Marc Asquith
Friday 9th December 2011 at 7:56 pm
The one thing I find really bizarre is the concept of someone bagging and picking up their dog poo and then chucking the bag into the hedge - at this time of year these are clearly visible on many of the field dog walking routes.

Personally - I would make the failure to carry appropriate poo bags an offence. On the other hand, I would also require the Council to provide sufficient poo bins - I am of the opinion that some people do not like carrying around a bag of poo and if they were able to bin it promptly, much more poo would be picked up.

Marc, father to William the Border Collie.
Sarah Lane
Sunday 11th December 2011 at 8:31 am
What a shame that some dog owners behave in such a way. Where I walk my dog we all pick up, I must see over 15 other dog walkers and we all carry bags around with us. The biggest problem is the lack of poo bins, we have all asked the council for a bin at the end of our walk but we have been ignored every time. Its not pleasant to have to carry it around and then have it in the car till I pass a bin on the route home to drop it in but I would rather do this than leave it. There is nothing worse than stepping in it and I have had my fair share of it over the years including on the wheels of prams and pushchairs so I don't intend to inflict that on others. I honestly thought most owners picked up now, how wrong could I have been.
Jon Williams
Sunday 11th December 2011 at 1:58 pm
Real Dog Poo bins would be nice, but you have the right to place it in standard waste bins as well!
Frank Keegan
Sunday 11th December 2011 at 4:18 pm
If we had real bins - and they are different - which locations would be best? We need to site them correctly, otherwise they are never used.

Emails to clerk at parish on with suggestions for sites which would be well used or just useful.
Marc Asquith
Sunday 11th December 2011 at 4:34 pm
1. Most people do not know this.
2. Frequently there are no bins at all.

We need strategic bins at the ends of footpaths so that people can pick up as they walk a route and drop off when they emerge onto the street.

The Netherfields bin is the classic example and really improved the situation along those paths.
Mike Barry
Monday 12th December 2011 at 3:56 pm

Fair play to you last week apologising for your 'off your radar' comment on the clearing of leaves on Congleton Rd etc.; you do get some 'full-on feedback' and I would never be able to do do your job. But, in the spirit of Christmas humour to read your entry on, what I accept is a serious issue, "Dogs should have to prove that their owners are responsible", it really does take Winalot!

Enjoy Christmas.
Jill Millen
Tuesday 13th December 2011 at 3:36 pm
I recently requested a bin on Brook Lane for general rubbish and dog waste bags which the council have now installed (outside Alderley House near Sunninghey Court) and it is well used although certain dog walkers are allowing their dogs to foul the footpaths still. If the culprits are reading this then please be aware that a group of us are prepared to photograph the offending dogs and owners and report them to the council as we are fed up with our dogs walking through their dog's mess! Get your camera/phones out and get the evidence - I'm sure a fine will deter them.
Frank Keegan
Tuesday 13th December 2011 at 6:21 pm
Well done Jill, I think I know one of the culprits but maybe I am just paranoid. A few naming and shaming snaps of the offenders will be a start. I think a few more bins on Brook Lane would be in order.
Wednesday 14th December 2011 at 2:33 pm
Thank you for highlighting this issue. When I did the Primary School walk back in the day it was also an issue.

If any of the culprits are reading this then a; please hang your head in shame, and b; hope you don't run into me while you allow your dog to foul without clearing up.

Dog faeces are highly toxic and young children do have a habit of touching their feet whilst sitting on the floor at school.

I remember remonstrating with one elderley gent a few years back by the Royal Oak and he said he had not seen his dog defecate, please, when I chided him and also told him the above he told me that the children should remove their shoes in class, so no contrition there then.

We have recently had a dog doing it's business on the top of our path and my husband finally caught the culprit 2 Sundays ago. It was a young boy about 9 years old, he said sorry and told us his mum did not give him a bag??? His parents were most definitely to blame as they were obviously too lazy to walk the dog themselves.