IRRESPONSIBLE dog owners who allow their pets to foul on playing fields and football pitches are being shown the red card.
Durham County Council has teamed up with Durham City Football Club and Durham County Football Association for a month-long campaign which kicked off yesterday.
Former Newcastle United star Olivier Bernard, who now owns Durham City Football Club, is backing the campaign, which was launched in response to fed-up residents voicing concerns about dog fouling on pitches.
Mr Bernard said: “I am very pleased to be supporting this campaign. Children have a right to play in clean and safe areas which are free from dog mess.
“It is unacceptable for people to allow their dogs to foul anywhere, including on playing fields and football pitches.”
The campaign will target 15 specific areas across County Durham – many of which are playing fields used by local school children.
Neighbourhood wardens will be on patrol in those areas and those who fail to clean up after their pet will be issued with £80 fixed penalty notices.
Pauline Walker, senior civic pride officer at Durham County Council, said: “Dog fouling is not only extremely unpleasant but also a serious environmental and safety issue.” Among the areas being targeted as part of the scheme are the Welfare Park and Playing Fields in Horden and Oak Road Park in Easington Colliery.
A series of free dog microchipping session will also be held in coming weeks, including one at Horden Social Welfare Centre on Friday, February 28, from 10am to 2pm.
People can report problems with dog fouling in confidence to Durham County Council by ringing 03000 26 1000 or online at www.durham.gov.uk/dogfouling.