A GROUP of volunteers will patrol Wigan’s streets to help rid the area of dog mess.
Members of Hindley Green Residents’ Association (HGRA) have set up Dog Watch – a scheme which raise awareness that owners who do not clean up after their pet has fouled would risk a fine and attempts to gather intelligence to secure prosecution.
The scheme will be run in near Westlake and the surrounding areas and is supported by ward councillors Frank Carmichael and Bob Brierley.
Coun Carmichael said; “The group is trying to assist Wigan Council officers who are unable to patrol all areas and catch irresponsible dog owners.
“The council cannot park an officer on every street corner, so the group will gather its own intelligence and do leaflet drops in hotspot areas.
“They will go out in hi-viz jackets with logos and will engage with the public, hopefully people will come up to us and ask what we are doing.
“But they are non-confrontational – they don’t want to approach the offenders. The only way we can prosecute irresponsible owners is if witnesses can gather information.
“If we are successful, it will not only increase prosecutions, but also raise the profile of the group.
“I think the presence of the Dog Watch volunteers will create an atmosphere that people in the area are fed up with fouling and that they are watching irresponsible owners.
“Hopefully people will notice the group and it will spur them on to clean up their dog’s excrement.
“We are having meetings with the council to have new signage as it needs to be more hard hitting to get the message across.
“We are also working with schools and have been in touch with Dogtastic which trains dogs, with the aim of educating people in best practice and behavioural tips.
“If we can educate children, they can talk to their parents and encourage them to clean up their dog’s mess,
“If the Dog Watch scheme is a success, we hope to encourage other areas to introduce their own initiative and make Wigan borough a dog fouling-free place.
“We know there are a lot of responsible dog owners. We just need to reach those that do not clean up after their pet.”