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Pick it up and take it home!

Tuesday, 6th August 2013

Dog mess sign

The National Forest Company Chief Executive speaks out against those leaving their dog mess in the Forest.

The National Forest Company (NFC) and local landowners are working together to tackle the problem of dog mess on pathways and woodlands in The National Forest.

Although most dog owners are highly responsible, dog mess is an increasing problem throughout the country. A recent Keep Britain Tidy survey revealed that 37% of people say that dog mess is the litter issue that most bothers them most. And with an estimated eight million ‘man’s best friends’ in the UK, producing in the region of 1,000 tonnes of dog mess every day, you can begin to see the scale of the problem.

Sophie Churchill OBE, Chief Executive, National Forest Company, said: “Walking around The National Forest it is obvious that a significant number of dog owners do not pick up after their dog. Much as we all love our four-legged friends, dog mess is a particularly nasty health risk which can cause blindness, as well as plainly extremely unpleasant to come into contact with.

“There are bins at some sites in the Forest, but because we are fortunate in having so many woodlands and miles of paths it is not feasible to have bins throughout the whole Forest area. It is simply unfair and unrealistic to expect taxpayers’ money to be spent picking up after a few people’s lifestyle choice and I am sure that over time, like smoking in public places, we will see a change of behaviour. But we are not there yet and we have to work together to achieve it.

“It is completely unacceptable to put the dog mess in a bag and leave it. It still has to be picked up and it will not decompose. This is just the same as leaving a wrapped nappy on the path. The dog mess must be bagged and taken home.

“It’s up to people to take responsibility for their choice to have a dog but we want to help as much as possible so that other people don’t have to suffer the nasty consequences of the anti-social few.”

The National Forest Company has commissioned a set of signs saying clearly why dog owners should pick up their dog’s waste and take it home with them.

Sophie Churchill explained: “We decided to make our signs very plain, very direct and very simple: please take your dog’s mess home with you. We have the great advantage of working with our local landowners and the signs will be placed where they will make the biggest impact.”

Signs will go up over the next few weeks on sites in the heart of the Forest area (between Ashby de la Zouch, Swadlincote and Donisthorpe) belonging to the Forestry Commission, Leicestershire County Council, Woodland Trust, South Derbyshire District Council, the National Forest Charitable Trust and local Parish Councils, conveying the message pick it up and take it home.