THE streets of a popular North Tyneside seaside resort are cleaner thanks to a month-long drive to rid the town of dog mess.
Westway Veterinary Group, which has a branch in Whitley Bay, has been praised for its initiative in encouraging dog walkers to clean up after their pets.
As the campaign ends, Westway Vets says it has been a huge success with dozens of dog owners popping into the Claremont Road surgery to pick up free poo bags since the beginning of August.
Westway Vets also sponsored 10 bins along the seafront from St Mary’s Lighthouse to Tynemouth so dog walkers could dump the bags hygienically.
The campaign has drawn praise from North Tyneside Council for promoting responsible pet ownership at a time when dog fouling is proving a major concern in communities.
The council issued 44 dog walkers with £50 fixed penalty fines over a two-year period to March 31. Four dog owners were subsequently prosecuted in the magistrates’ court after failing to pay the fine, with the court imposing further penalties totalling £3,400.
Westway vet Abbey Taylor, who runs the Whitley Bay surgery, said: “We are delighted at the success of the campaign, which has really focused dog owners’ minds on the need to look after their pet responsibly, and play their part in keeping the streets of Whitley Bay clean.
“Most dog owners are caring, responsible people who respect the local environment and pick up after their pet, but there is a minority who give dog owners a bad name. Residents are quite rightly disgusted when there is dog poo on the streets and popular walks.
“As well as being unsightly, dog poo can also be a danger to other pets and people, particularly children, as it contains different bacteria, viruses and parasites.
“Roundworms are common in dogs if they are not regularly wormed and can be transferred to humans, with children highly susceptible, so it is advisable that anyone coming into the surgery for a poo bag also asks us about worming.”
Councillor John Stirling, Cabinet Member responsible for the Environment, said: “The positive and proactive approach Westway Vets has adopted in tackling the issue of dog mess in the Whitley Bay area has been fantastic and we hope to work with them again in the future.
“Hopefully this campaign will have a lasting effect and together as a community we can keep the streets of the town free from dog mess.”
Westway has 21 branches across the North East, from Wideopen to Darlington, and opened its latest surgery in Whitley Bay last November.
For media enquiries, please contact Amanda Little, VetPartners Head of PR and Communications, on 0191 300 1181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org