Gorebridge Primary parents spraypaint dog poo blue

A SCHOOL has taken the lead in the battle against dog fouling by highlighting the scale of the problem in its community.
Too many owners do not clean up after their dogs. Picture: Jeremy StocktonToo many owners do not clean up after their dogs. Picture: Jeremy Stockton
Too many owners do not clean up after their dogs. Picture: Jeremy Stockton

Parents at Gorebridge Primary in Midlothian went out and sprayed dogs’ mess with bright blue paint in a bid to shame pet owners and help pedestrian avoid it.

In the 11 streets they targeted they found an astonishing 275 offending deposits.

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They say they hope their action will make serial offenders realise their actions are being observed by the community and change their behaviour.

Debbie Denver, vice-chairwoman of the school’s parent council and parent teacher association, said: “There’s probably not a parent in the village that hasn’t had to clean muck off shoes and carpets, due to some disgusting and lazy dog owner. We want them to think about their actions and realise that being a part of this community means caring about it.”

And Debbie’s seven-year-old daughter, Isla, added: “If the park is full of poop, then I can’t play there and that’s not fair because then children can’t have fun.”

Gerry Farrell, founder of Leithers Don’t Litter, carries a can of pink spray paint to highlight dog poo in his area.

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The Gorebridge parents launched their mission after being approached by local action group, Gorebridge Community Cares, which directed them towards the Coalfields Regeneration Fund, where they secured a small grant to run the project.

They also got permission from Midlothian Council before going ahead with the spraying, using biodegradable paint.

The parents intend to repeat the exercise next month to measure how effective the action was. They say feedback from the community has been “hugely positive”.

And they are considering seeking permission from the council to extend the action to children’s play areas.

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A spokesman from the council’s environmental health department said: “This initiative is being undertaken by a community group who fully discussed their proposals with Midlothian Council in advance of commencing their local campaign. We are pleased that the group is keen to join with us in the fight against the scourge of dog mess.

“In this campaign, the group indicated they are seeking to deliver the message that the local community want local dog owners to comply with the law and behave in a responsible fashion. They intend to count and spray the deposits, and then to repeat the process some weeks later and measure if any improvement is evident.

“Dog fouling is not acceptable and we urge all dog-owners in Midlothian to clear up after their pets as it is their responsibility.

“As many people already know, there are free dog poo bags available in many of our council buildings, including local libraries, and, once bagged, dog waste can be disposed of in any litter bin or in your domestic refuse bin.”