Children shame dog owners

The tree adorned with discarded bags of dogs' mess.
The tree adorned with discarded bags of dogs' mess.

Members of the Forfar Loch Country Park’s Junior Ranger service have been spurred into action to shame irresponsible dog owners into picking up the mess left by their pets.

The paths round the local beauty spot have, for years, been littered with dog faeces and now the environmentally-conscious youngsters have called time on those who refuse to pick up.

Visitors to the local attraction are now met with little yellow marker flags next to piles of excrement, some only yards from dog waste bins.

Posters have been erected asking members of the public to pick up after their dogs, and bags representing discarded dog poo have been hung on a tree at the north end of the loch.

The notices state: “The Junior Rangers are campaigning against the irresponsible dog walkers who fail to clean up their dog faeces. They and all our responsible visitors would appreciate a clean park.

“Together we have flagged 165 dog faeces. This is only the tip of the iceberg. It is a criminal offence to fail to pick up after your dog.”

Craig Borland, senior countryside ranger said: “This project has been carried out by the Junior Rangers, led by my colleague ranger Mhairi Kimmet.

“They have been busy making the flags and the fake poo for the bags for a trial run to highlight the scale of the problem.

“We are hoping to use the path in the millennium forest as an outside classroom in the summer so it is important for them to stay safe.

“There are plans to extend the project into other areas of the park.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Congratulations to the junior rangers on their campaign against these irresponsible dog walkers. There really is no excuse to leave dog mess as dog owners can bin their dog’s mess in any bin.

“We’re also doing our bit to clear up the mess after those who cannot be bothered by appointing an officer to scoop up the dog poo. However, it’s shocking that there are dog owners out there who think that the taxpayer should pick up the bill to clean up after their dog.

“While the council will continue to do clean-ups, encourage the community to get involved and take enforcement action when necessary, the only sure way this problem can be tackled is if these irresponsible dog owners and dog walkers clean up after their dog.”

A recent report to Angus councillors found a member of staff dedicated to collecting waste picked up 22,500 dog faeces across Angus last year. During 2014 community wardens issued 98 fixed penalty notices in relation to dog fouling - 10 in Forfar.