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On the 3rd July 2017 the Council will be launching a new Campaign to promote responsible dog ownership in Northumberland. At the core of the campain is the Green Dog Walker Initiative that encourages both local environmental groups and motivated individuals to sign up to the Green Dog Walker pledge.

The Campaign focuses on the issues of dog fouling (being a Green Dog Walker) together with dog control and public safety. Dog fouling can have a significant impact on our environment and presents a serious public health risk from for example Toxocariasis an illness of humans caused by dog roundworm that is found in dog faeces and can lead to blindness in humans. As regards public safety there have been dog attack incidents locally including an incident in 2016 in a park in Blyth.

This campaign will form an important part of the County Council’s overall approach to dog control. Our commitment to effective enforcement will continue as before with targeted enforcement patrols at identified problem areas across Northumberland.

The Campaign will seek to promote Northumberland as a welcoming place to responsible dog walkers whether residents or visitors but also emphasise that Northumberland is not a place that tolerates irresponsible dog owners again whether residents or visitors. The philosophy behind the Green Dog Walker Initiative is to change public attitudes so that it becomes socially unacceptable to fail to clean up after your dog i.e. they should leave only pawprints .

The Green Dog Walker Initiative relies on volunteers for its delivery and uses a nonconfrontational ‘keep it friendly’ approach to encourage responsible dog ownership. Talking to dog walkers, offering free poop bags and in turn encouraging them to also sign up to the green dog walker pledge. The group or individual provides the “on the ground” work to sign up further pledgers. Green Dog Walker support kits will be provided to local community groups, individuals, and schools who want to take an active role. The toolkit includes a supply of campaign guides, pledge brochures, armbands, doggy bags, and posters.

Individuals who sign up to the pledge will be provided with the armband and a supply of campaign poop bags and leaflets to encourage other dog walkers to sign up.

Key messages of the campaign are;

➢ dog fouling is a significant public health problem and blight on our environment,

➢ that picking up after your dog or reporting those that don’t helps protect Northumberland’s environment for all,

➢ that the fixed penalty fine for offenders in Northumberland has been increased to £100,

➢ that dogs should be kept under control at all times in public spaces in the interest of public safety,

➢ that dog owners should always be aware of the need to keep dogs on leads to avoid the worrying of farm animals, the disturbance to roosting, breeding birds, & stranded seals,

➢ and that the Council encourages responsible dog walkers to join up as volunteers for the Green Dog Walker Initiative and help promote responsible dog ownership across Northumberland.

Key Contacts

1) Information about the campaign and an online Green Dog Walker pledge form can from the 3rd July be found at;

www.northumberland.gov.uk/greendogwalkers

2) Please contact us by email at greendogwalkers@northumberland.gov.uk if you would like a supply of campaign materials.

3) Please contact Steve Hall, Senior Animal Welfare Officer, for other specific support and advice: stephen.hall@northumberland.gov.uk, 01670 623751.

Northumberland County Council Depot, East View, Choppington,

Northumberland NE62 5TR.

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