A community-minded volunteer has joined forces with Melton Council to tackle the town’s ‘disgusting’ dog mess problem.
On just one of his recent daily patrols, Frank Duckworth removed 41 piles of dog mess in the Grange Drive/Sapcote Drive area alone, and returning to the same small area just two weeks later he cleared up a further 19 piles.
Other dog mess hotspots Frank has helped monitor include the Beckmill Court flats, Bentley Street, Greenslade, Chapel Street, Sandy Lane and Victoria Street.
Despite having arthritis in his knees and fingers, Melton man Frank (58) has taken it upon himself to pick up the piles of mess he finds on his patrols as well as raising awareness of the problem by marking out dog fouling areas using a temporary spray paint and stencil.
Every week he reports back to the council with the ultimate aim of catching irresponsible dog owners who don’t clear up their pet’s waste.
He has received authorisation, training and support from the council but he doesn’t work for them or get paid a penny for what he does.
Melton dog owners who don’t clear up after their dog in a public place can be handed a £75 fixed penalty notice by the council’s team of authorised officers. If found guilty in court, offenders could face a fine of up to £1,000.
Melton Police are also giving their support to tackling dog fouling and local business Mars Petcare has provided dog mess bags as part of its Clean for The Queen project.
Frank said: “I was involved with Neighbourhood Watch and as I was out and about I noticed how bad the dog fouling problem was getting and wanted to know what could be done about it.
“I went to speak to the council’s environmental protection and safety manager Victoria Clarke and I got involved from there.
“I didn’t realise dog fouling was such a major problem in Melton. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen it so bad. It just seems to be getting worse and worse.
“I’m not doing what I do to get a medal. I pick up the dog mess because I don’t like to see it. I find it totally disgusting.”
He added: “The reports of the streets I’ve visited get logged by the council and, if there’s a major issue, they can take things to the next level, which might include the use of cameras.
“The problem is we need more people to report it.
“If they know the person responsible for the dog fouling they should inform the council, along with the place and time of the incident. If they don’t know the person they can make a note of what they were wearing. Taking a photo of the dog owner and dog would also be useful.”
Frank feels that owners who fail to clean up after their animals simply shouldn’t keep them, and that responsible dog owners often get tarred with the same brush.
He said: “It’s time people in Melton realise how much of a problem dog fouling is.
“I’d like for a meeting to be arranged inviting all dog owners along so we can highlight the issue. The more people who are aware of it the more chance we have of getting more people on board.”
Melton Council’s environmental protection and safety manager Victoria Clarke said: “Frank came forward as a volunteer saying he wanted to do something because the dog fouling problem was awful.
“He’s making a sterling effort on a voluntary basis and we’re supporting him as much as we can.”
The council also has a small dedicated team of officers who patrol parts of Melton on a weekly basis as part of the ‘Me and My Neighbourhood’ campaign, tackling issues including dog fouling.
To report dog fouling fill in an online form at tinyurl.com/reportdogfouling