Plan to tackle Foxhill Bank’s dog dirt problem

Thursday 10th May 2018

A well behaved dog is a sign you are a good ownerA well behaved dog is a sign you are a good owner

A popular nature reserve is becoming a no-go area for wildlife lovers because of irresponsible dog walkers.

Foxhill Bank, in Oswaldtwistle, has such a serious problem with dog fouling that volunteers are shunning working there because of concerns for their health.

However, The Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Hyndburn Council have a plan to tackle the problem with the help of responsible visitors to the reserve. This will mean rewards and advice for good dog owners and more vigilance to stop bad owners spoiling the tranquil urban reserve for other people.

Hyndburn’s Senior Environmental Initiatives Officer Anne Hourican said: “A really concerted effort should put enough pressure on the irresponsible dog walkers and there are some great positive measures as well. If people want to continue walking their dogs in the reserve, then they mustn’t spoil it.”

The Dogs are not to blame for leaving their messWildlife Trust’s East Lancashire Reserves Officer Kim Coverdale said: “This is a serious problem because it is discouraging people from visiting this lovely urban nature reserve, which should be enjoyed by everyone who lives in the area.

“It is also worrying for our volunteers and officers who have real health concerns when they are working in areas where there is a lot of dog faeces on the ground.”

Kim met with Hyndburn Dog Warden Jane Grady at Foxhill Bank. Jane will increase patrols on the reserve and hand out poo bags. She has provided more signs to ask dog owners to pick up their dog’s mess. The Wildlife Trust has put up a sign reading “fixed penalty notices will be issued to dog owners who are failing to remove dog faeces”.

Jane has also agreed to us coloured spray on areas where dog dirt has been left to help visitors, especially children and local schools, to spot and avoid it.
Kim will join Jane on teatime patrols at Foxhill Bank, when they can hand out details of Dogs Trust workshops, which encourage better behavior in owners and their dogs, in the area.

Selfish owners are creating no-go areas for the public and our volunteers

Kim said: “We will be asking local schools to design ‘Thank You’ certificates for good owners. So we are encouraging people to behave responsibly. But we need to be strong on people who are not responsible and we want local people to tell Jane and myself to provide descriptions and car registrations of any offenders.”

The Wildlife Trust’s Head of Conservation Tim Mitcham said: “I think the key is to keep up the pressure to change habits and develop ‘eyes and ears’ help over this issue.” 

Tim said the partnership between the Wildlife Trust and Hyndburn Council will provide lessons for other nature reserves in the region.

TWildife Trust Reserves Officer Kim Coverdale with Hyndburn Hound, which is actuall dog warden Jane Grady in disguisehe Trust’s Campaigns Officer Alan Wright said: “The problems we have at Foxhill Bank are not just restricted to this reserve. We have issues with dog owners on every site where we have public access. In fact, we have dog problems at Brockholes where dogs are not allowed on most of the reserve.
“As well as dog fouling, some owners are not keeping their pets under control and, in the most serious cases, volunteers and officers have been attacked by dogs.

“The majority of people are happy to control and clean up after their dogs. The selfish owners are creating problems that affect other people and are creating no-go areas where lots of people should be able to enjoy themselves without worrying about coming into contact with dog dirt.”