A dog groomer is taking action over a foul problem plaguing Lostock Hall.
Dog mess is particularly problematic in Coote Lane, School Lane, Leyland Road, St Cuthbert’s Road, Fir Trees Avenue and the path from Watkin Lane to Wellfield Road, according to numerous residents using Facebook group, Lostock Hall Community.
Lostock Hall business woman Rachel Calvert is placing plastic bottles filled with dog bags around town for people to pick up after their pets.
She said: “It’s horrendous, disgusting and lazy of those who allow dog fouling to happen.”
The 36-year-old, who owns Pretty Pups Dog Grooming in Watkin Lane, has six pooches of her own. She is worried that people like her are being scapegoated and fears that it will hurt her business.
"People like me are blamed because I have multiple dogs but I pick up after mine. Some people are saying that my customers are doing it, so it has an impact on my business. People are always calling me out - it's rubbish," Rachel said.
Mum-of-three Louise Cross believes the health risks associated with the issue need to be taken more seriously and is worried her children could become ill by standing in dog mess and accidentally spreading it. The excrement can cause a rare and nasty infection in humans called toxocariasis, which results from roundworm parasites. It can lead to dizziness, nausea, asthma and even blindness or seizures, according to Keep Britain Tidy.
Louise added: "There are lots of health implications that I think people don't realise. Some say, 'It's a bit of poo; what's the problem?'
"But it's extremely disgusting and dangerous, and it's embarrassing for children. It's horrible, it really is.
"Children can stand in it and trail it into school and their home and then sit down in it and spread it while scooters and bikes can trail it around. It's pure selfishness that some people can't be bothered to clean up after their pets because they think it will stay outside but it doesn't.
"A lot of people are letting the town down by turning us into a scruffy mess. They just laugh it off. But Lostock Hall is not a giant dog's toilet, and we just want it to be a cleaner and safer area."
Louise mainly encounters the problem during the morning school run from her house in Leyland Road to Lostock Hall Community Primary School in Linden Drive.
The 41-year-old, whose 14-year-old daughter is partially sighted, added: "It's ridiculous. I must sound like an old nag in the street because all you can hear is me saying, 'Watch out for the dog mess,' over and over. Sometimes you have to be a long jumper to move over it.
"People with a disability struggle to get passed it and children are having to walk in roads to avoid it. And the traffic in Leyland Road is horrendous at that time."
Louise believes the culprits strike mainly in the morning or at night when it's still dark and cannot be seen, adding: "We want to see it cleaned up and for those responsible to be caught. People who do pick it up are also blacklisted but we're not penalising them.
"Some people are that ignorant and selfish these days and they treat their dogs like a fashion accessory."
Louise said she was targeted by antisocial behaviour involving fouling in 2018. She claimed it occurred outside her house almost daily for several months.
"I felt like I was being victimised because I complained and it went on for months and months. I was really distressed. The council put up a fouling sign outside my house and the next day it had been pulled down and one time it was chucked in my garden. I put nappy bags out and they were chucking them behind the electric box at the side of my home," she said.
"Dog mess stinks and attracts lots of flies. Some people think it just disappears but it lasts for weeks and months. I don't think people realise how bad it is."
Offenders can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100, and if the case goes to court, the owner or person in charge of the animal could be forced to fork out up to £1,000. According to the law, being unaware a dog has fouled or not having a suitable bag is not a reasonable excuse.
South Ribble Borough Council also ran an online campaign to highlight the issue in February and March last year. It involved sharing images on Facebook and Twitter of identified excrement.
Coun. Sue Jones, cabinet member for environment, said: “The issue of dog fouling is one we do our upmost to tackle on a daily basis – however, the council does not have eyes everywhere, and with limited resources, it means we rely on residents to report dog fouling to us on our website: please visit southribble.gov.uk.
“We call on dog owners to act responsibly and do the right thing: please clean up after your dog. For the council, to hear of our residents stepping in dog muck is quite frustrating because it is completely preventable, and in 2019, we ran a month-long media campaign to highlight this issue. The orange spray paint initiative sought to bring to people’s attention to dog fouling in their local area and make people think about their actions.
“It’s great to see residents getting involved to help us tackle the issue, and again, we would ask residents to report all instances of dog fouling to us via our website. If we all encourage each other to do the right thing and clean up dog muck, we will see a big improvement.
“The council will be rolling out another of its anti-dog fouling campaigns later in the year.”
To donate any plastic bottles or bags to Rachel, please drop them off at the groomers.