More than 100 complaints have been made about dog poo in South Oxfordshire and the council is on a mission to raise awareness of the fouling hot spots.

In the past year, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils' joint envirocrime team has received 118 complaints about dog fouling. These complaints included a video message from a mother and young daughter from Wantage after the child got covered in dog mess not cleared up by the animal’s owner. The team also received CCTV of a night-time dog walker allowing his pet to foul a neighbour’s path.

The councils are also trying to tackle the problem of dogwalkers leaving poo in plastic bags as litter on the ground or near a litter bin or sometimes hanging in a tree.

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The councils’ envirocrime officers can issue a £50 fixed penalty notice to someone who fails to clean up after their dog. If the case goes to court this could cost the owner or person in charge of the animal up to £1,000.

Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils have put together dog fouling maps of local towns and villages showing the areas with the highest number of complaints about owners not picking up after their animals.

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Using maps, the council aims to highlight the dog fouling hot spots to serve as a reminder to dog owners that it is an offence not to clean up immediately if the dog you are walking has fouled on public land.

Councillor Catherine Webber, Vale of White Horse District Council cabinet member for the environment and climate emergency said: “Dog mess in our public spaces is unacceptable and so easily preventable. Since lockdown people are much more aware of their local environment and are noticing dog mess more. It is not only deeply unpleasant, but also dangerous. Whilst rare, contact with dog excrement can cause illness and infection. For these reasons we would also urge people to report all incidents of dog fouling.”

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The main dog poo suspect areas include Lambrick Way sports grounds and Albert Park in Abingdon, High Street, Oakley Road, Near St Andrew’s Primary School in Chinnor, South East Didcot and Ladygrove estate in Didcot and Jespers Hill and Tuckers Park in Farringdon.

Wantage has the most dog fouling hot spots in South Oxfordshire with Stockham Park, Paths ways behind the Grove technology centre, Wantage Park, Canal walk from Grove technology centre to East Challows and Cornhill Farm road (East Challows) all being open spaces prone to dog fouling problems.

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Leaving dog mess can be dangerous and people of all ages can be infected with toxocariasis from dog faeces. It is a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites which are passed though animal faeces – most commonly from cats, dogs, and foxes. It usually affects young children who come into contact with contaminated soil when they play.

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