Clean-up plea to park dog-walkers

Rebecca Atkinson, right, chair of the Friends of Barnes Park, with some of the dog walkers who use the park to exercise their pets..

Rebecca Atkinson, right, chair of the Friends of Barnes Park, with some of the dog walkers who use the park to exercise their pets..

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THOUGHTLESS dog owners are being urged to make cleaning up after their pets a walk in the park.

Recently revamped Barnes Park in Sunderland is a big hit with dog walkers.

But the park’s Friends group says that dog dirt is posing a problem for visitors, including families and community groups, who flock to the green space.

Now pet owners are being urged to pack their doggy bags when taking their furry friends for a stroll.

Group chairwoman Rebecca Atkinson said: “We’ve had complaints about dog mess, so we decided to highlight the issue and make people pro-active.

“We want to keep the park usable for everyone. It is just a minority of users, but it is not want we want.

“We are encouraging people to bring their own bags and, hopefully, set up times when we can come into the park to dish them out and talk to dog walkers.”

Responsible dog owners enjoying the park said they always pick up after their pets.

Dorothy Dobinson, from Barnes, is never without a batch of nappy bags for clearing up after her Cockapoo Fudge, who is a cross between a cocker spaniel and poodle.

“It is improving and people are picking up after their dogs, but if you say anything you get a mouthful of abuse,” she said.

Five-and-a-half-year-old beagle Amber was being taken for some exercise by owner, student Jonathan Kilner, 18.

He said: “It is your responsibility when you have a dog. I think it is very annoying if people don’t pick up after their dogs, especially where young children play.”

Frank McQuillam, 65, walking Dylan the Bedlington terrier, added: “We were one of the first ones through the gates when the park opened. It is fantastic. We think it is great.”

Also cleaning up after their pooches were Lindsay Ledger, 36, from Silksworth, with cocker spaniel Lily, and university student Kate Hutchinson, from Colchester Terrace in Barnes, with Shih Tzu Bertha.

Kate said she would like to see more dog bins in the park.

Barnes councillor Michael Essl often takes his Rottweilers Archie and Scarlett for a walk in the park.

He said: “There is always a problem with people who won’t pick up after their dogs.

“Most of the people who use the park are pretty good but we need to highlight the issue, particularly in terms of the money we have spent on the regeneration.”

Twitter: @janethejourno