A COMMUNITY campaign has been launched to promote responsible dog ownership in Willington and help owners protect their pets.

Durham County Council, Greater Willington Town Council, Stray Aid and schools in the town have joined forces to encourage people in and around Willington to clean up after their pets.

Assemblies and education sessions have been held on all four primary schools by Durham County Council's civic pride officers, who were joined by members of Greater Willington Town Council which has identified dog fouling hotspots and funded the initiative.

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And neighbourhood wardens are carrying out extra patrols- issuing fixed penalty notices to people seen failing to pick up after their dog and golden tickets, which enable recipients to enter a prize draw, to those seen bagging and binning their dog's waste.

On Saturday, May 31, between 10am and 2pm, dog owners can have their dog microchipped free of charge at The Phoenix Christian Centre, Watling Road, Willington.

Councillor Joe Cogdon, of Greater Willington Town Council, said: “We want to encourage responsible dog ownership and to value dog walkers who respect where they live by keeping paths and green areas clean for us all to enjoy.

“We are delighted with the support of the local primary schools which have worked with us on this campaign, the pupils have done a great job promoting the campaign and giving out information.

“Unfortunately in recent months there have been some instances of dog theft in Weardale and Teesdale and we hope that by offering free microchipping we can go some way towards keeping dogs safe and identifying those that have gone missing.”

People can report problems with dog fouling to the county council at durham.gov.uk/dogfouling or on 03000-261000.