Park volunteers to launch anti-dog dirt campaign

Iain Livingston walks his dogs in Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park. Picture: Toby Williams
Iain Livingston walks his dogs in Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park. Picture: Toby Williams
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A GROUP of park guardians is set to lead the way in the fight against dog dirt with the launch of a new year-long campaign.

Volunteers from Friends of Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park have been out pacing the streets and paths around their local parkland in a bid to encourage residents to take the Good Dog Walker pledge – committing those who sign to clearing up after their pooch and carrying extra poop scoop bags.

Keith Robson. Picture: Toby Williams

Keith Robson. Picture: Toby Williams

The pledge is one of a raft of measures introduced by the group as part of a council-backed drive to stamp down on dog mess.

Other initiatives include writing messages on paths with chalk paint and even highlighting the dog dirt itself with bright colouring.

More than 40 stencilled messages have been placed on pathways and the entrances to the park so far, with 50 new warning stickers put up at key locations. A leaflet has also been produced to hand out to dog walkers.

Bruce Bennet, secretary of the Friends of Burdiehouse Burn, said the response from residents so far had been “very encouraging.”

He said: “Most people we spoke to thought it was a great idea, and we think only one dog walker didn’t have bags. This shows that most people are responsible, we just need to get the message through to the minority of dog owners who aren’t.

“With our regular activities in the park we probably see well over 100 different dog walkers during the course of a year, so we will be ready to sign them up as Good Dog Walkers. We are confident that we will achieve a substantial reduction in the problem over the coming year.”

The campaign has been backed by the city council and local councillors, with the Friends also securing extra patrols in the area from the Capital’s environmental wardens service.

Dog owners who fail to clear up after their pets currently face fines of £40 – with the total rising to £60 if not paid within 28 days.

Councillor Keith Robson joined the Friends as they launched their campaign earlier this month.

He said: “I’m supportive of the group’s desire to see some action on dog fouling, as are all my ward colleagues. It’s something that comes up again and again in neighbourhood community forums. In the week after the election I was out with the group stencilling dog fouling in the area around the park.

“The Friends group has really improved the park over the last ten years or so and this is just another part of them responding to local concerns. It’s to get the message across that we all want to enjoy the park and walk through our streets without trampling on dog poo.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com