Resident’s anger over dog mess

Christine Waine and fiance Nicholas Holden near the Wigan Flood Alleviation Scheme dam in Douglas Valley
Christine Waine and fiance Nicholas Holden near the Wigan Flood Alleviation Scheme dam in Douglas Valley

A RESIDENT is calling for action at a popular green space he claims is being blighted by dog fouling.

Nicholas Holden, of Walnut Avenue, says he is fed up with dog walkers leaving their pets’ faeces on the pavement outside his house and the streets and footpaths leading down into Bottling Woods and the new dam over the River Douglas.

Mr Holden is now calling on the council to do more to solve the problem as he believes leaving paths covered with dog mess will present a health hazard for children and toddlers walking on the popular route with their parents.

Mr Holden, 49, said: “This is a nice area but it’s being spoilt by a minority of irresponsible dog owners.

“It’s a busy path with people using it as a short cut into Haigh Hall grounds. There’s dog mess on the paths around the dam and dogs use a bush in front of my house as a toilet too, so when the weather warms up you can smell it badly from the garden.”

Mr Holden says he has contacted the council on numerous occasions in the past two years, but the problem has got worse.

He said: “I’ve been given some little stickers to put on the lamp posts, but they’re too easy to ignore and we need bigger signs.

“They also said I needed to follow anyone I saw and take pictures of their house or car, which I thought was a bit extreme as they could be anybody and might become aggressive if they saw me taking pictures of them.

“Inspectors also came down a few weeks ago and said there wasn’t enough evidence of a problem, whereas most days I can see exactly what the problem is just by spending about half an hour down at the dam.”

Mr Holden says he is particularly frustrated as, before moving to Wigan around two years ago, he lived in a small village in Lincolnshire where dog fouling was punished much more rigorously.

He said: “I realise that’s not possible in a large town, and the council have to battle budget cuts, but I think the same rules should apply to everyone.

“Cleaning up after your dog is just common sense. I have friends who own dogs and they keep their pets on the lead and take bags with them, but I’ve actually had to lend people bags because they didn’t have one.

“It doesn’t take two minutes to clear up the mess and you can buy dog bags for about £1 from Poundland, so there’s no excuse.”

Sally Wolstencroft, Wigan Council’s Head of Safer, Cleaner and Greener, said: “We sympathise with Mr Holden and all residents who have to contend with dog fouling in their neighbourhoods.

“It is a blight which causes distress and inconvenience to local people as well as considerable cost to the council and other agencies who tackle the problem on a daily basis. In regard to warning offenders of the consequences of allowing their dog to foul public places, in our experience some residents are keen for prominent signage, while others tend to prefer a more low profile approach.

“It is vitally important that we target our limited resources where they can make the most difference.”

To report dog fouling, contact Wigan Council’s helpline on 01942 404364.