Special ‘dog fouling patrols’ are being set up across part of Lancashire in a bid to catch owners failing to clear up after their pets.
Council chiefs in Wyre have received hundreds of complaints from residents about dog mess in parks and open spaces across the borough.
But in the past year just three owners have been given fines for the offence.
Parks bosses admit it is hard to catch owners in the act of failing to clear up. Now the special patrols, involving a team of council officers supported by Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), aim to beef up enforcement.
PCSOs have been given special training. Officers involved in the patrols will give members of public advice on new dog control orders being adopted across Wyre – and take enforcement action where necessary.
The patrols are reviewed and targeted on ‘hot spot’ areas where the most reports and complaints are received.
The idea was discussed at a meeting of Wyre’s street cleansing task group, set up to look at ways of improving and maintaining the borough’s streets and open spaces.
Committee chairman Coun Pete Murphy said: “When we get calls in the operatives go through that log every day, look at which are the problem areas and then they target those areas.”
The move has come since Wyre Council took its street cleansing services entirely back “in house” in April following the end of a previous contract.
Between October last year and September this year, mopre than 340 requests have been received by the council to clear up dog fouling, although the numbers have dropped in recent months.
Coun Murphy added: “What we are finding is that as we are cleaning the streets better than pre-April, people are less prone to leaving their animal mess behind. The number of penalty notices is low but we take that as a good thing. If complaints are down maybe our education side is working.”
Members of the task group asked questions of Wyre’s head of operations Mark Billington.
A report from the meeting said: “Mr Billington said that three fixed penalty notices had been issued for dog fouling. The number was low because it was very difficult to catch people ‘in the act’.
It added: “A patrol plan was in place and PCSOs had received relevant training to increase the number of people who were suitably trained to carry out enforcement action.”
Task group member Coun Julia Anderson said the issue had improved vastly compared to five or 10 years ago.