A GROUP launched to help promote responsible dog ownership and clean up a town has attracted strong interest from members of the public, a leading councillor has said.

Councillor Jonathan Dalston, deputy leader of Darlington Borough Council, said since it was established last month the Responsible Dog Ownership Project had seen a number of people show interest in supporting and becoming involved.

He said the group, which includes staff from the council’s community safety team, representatives from local dog walking and dog service businesses and owners, had made progress on some of the key issues facing the dog walking community and other residents in the borough.

The concerns include improving the way in which people can report a lost or found dog by bolstering telephone options.

Cllr Dulston added the council was now working on producing an interactive dog bin map, so dog walkers can check the map on their phone before or during walks.

He said a ‘We Are Watching You’ campaign will be used as part of the authority’s initiative to clean up the borough’s back lanes and to remind people they can be prosecuted for dog-related and other environmental crime.

David Gray, director at Petpals Darlington & Yarm, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the dog business community to come together to form a collaborative working partnership with our council in what is thought to be one of the first such partnerships in the country.”