DOG owners in Darlington are being called on to clear up after their pets that are fouling the borough's parks and pavements.

Darlington Borough Council’s dog wardens and Street Scene teams have seen an increase in reports from people about dog mess.

The council says an increase is typical for the time of year, when many pet owners walk their dogs at night and leave the mess for others to deal with.

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Wardens report that more children and young people were walking dogs during the Christmas school holidays and often not cleaning up after them.

Councillor Nick Wallis, the council’s cabinet member for local environment, said: “I find it very hard to believe that people still find it acceptable to let their dogs foul our streets and just leave it there.

“I am sure they would not want people to let their dogs mess in their front garden or path and just leave it.

“There are plenty of dog poo bags available from many shops to scoop up dog mess – and these bags can be put in any bin, not just our special dog bins.”

People are asked to report ‘repeat offenders’ - those people who walk their dog on the same route at the same time each day and do not clean up after their dog.

The council’s dog wardens will then try to be there at the same time on a future occasion, to talk to the dog owner or to witness them not cleaning up after their dog.

A fine of £75 can be issued to people who fail to clean up dog dirt.

People can become 'street champions', who are volunteers that are the eyes and ears on the streets to help improve the environment by reporting incidences such as dog fouling, littering and fly-tipping.

Raising any concerns that locals have with the police at local Partners and Communities Together (Pact) meetings is also a way to tackle the problem.

Reports of dog fouling can be made anonymously. Call 01325-388777, email dishthedirt@darlington.gov.uk or visit darlington.gov.uk/reportit