Report by Karen Richards
Friday, July 13, 2012
FINDING dog poo in public places has become a thing of the past in a North Somerset village – thanks to a campaign started by residents four months ago.
Letters have been sent to every household in Portbury asking dog walkers to pick up after their pets, pointing out where dog bins are located and advising on how to report persistent offenders.
Villagers armed with orange spray paint have also patrolled the streets highlighting the issue, quite literally.
The scheme was the brainchild of mum-of-two and dog owner Sharon Worthy who says the final straw came in March when a lane leading to the park was covered in dog mess and an elderly lady, who uses it every day on her mobility scooter to walk her dog, had to ride through it.
The 39-year-old bank manager said: “She had no choice but it was disgusting.
“The problem was getting worse, especially near the play area and rugby pitch, so I decided rather than to moan about it, I should try and do something.
“I approached the parish council to get permission for the mail drop and councillors were very supportive.”
Portbury Parish Council provided funding for the paint and Sharon got up at 6am to walk her dog and spray any poo she came across.
She said: “Now I very rarely spray anything because it was only a very small minority of people who were leaving mess, who now either pick up or walk elsewhere.
“Only one person was reported to the envirommental health department at North Somerset Council and he has stopped doing it now.
“It has been a huge success, thanks to the people of Portbury who take pride in our community by keeping it clean and safe.”
The group also managed to recruit major pet shop chain Pets at Home to the cause and the firm happily donated 1,000 disposal bags for distribution in the village.
The scheme is the second successful campaign instigated by Sharon, after rallying villagers to clear a patch of land last year which was turned into a children’s play area.
The parish council asked her to lead the project, supplied funds for play equipment and the park was opened last June.
Children from the village, campaigners and parish councillor Valerie Marshall, celebrated the play area’s first birthday with a picnic, music, a cake and games of football and rounders.
Sharon was rewarded for her community work by being asked to carry the Olympic torch through Combe Martin, in Devon, in May.