Change of attitude needed to tackle area’s dog mess problem

Sarah Jenkins with some dog bins in The Byes. Ref shs 09 19TI 1010061. Picture: Terry Ife

Sarah Jenkins with some dog bins in The Byes. Ref shs 09 19TI 1010061. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth resident is calling on a community campaign to stamp out littering and dog fouling across the Sid Valley.

Sarah Jenkins has spoken out after seeing repeated problems in The Byes and around Fortescue, despite bins being within the local vicinity.

The piano teacher wants to raise awareness and change attitudes as her granddaughter Annabelle died due to toxoplasmosis, a parasite found in animal faeces, causing her to be born with brain damage.

Sarah said: “I have trodden in mess and walked it in my house. It is horrible.

“I held my dead granddaughter in my arms. She was perfect and beautiful. To look at her you would not know there was anything wrong. The parasite had burrowed its way into her brain and caused her to be blind, deaf and not in control of any of her muscles. Seeing my daughter bury her child was desperate and heartbreaking.

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“I hope and pray no one ever has to go through the pain of seeing a child go through a distressing death from a condition caused by animal faeces.”

The grandmother-of-two said she would champion for more bins as issues could arise when dogs were off leads and owners were not aware fouling had occurred.

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She said: “It might be good for the community to come with some suggestions of what to do about it.”

East Devon District Council (EDDC) said its workers pick up five tonnes of waste a week from dog bins alone but it was a ‘stubborn minority’ of pet owners and litter bugs that needed to clean up their act.

A council spokesman said residents should approach their town or parish councils to fund additional bins but encouraged dog users that ‘any bins will do’ when discarding their pet’s poo,

Councillor Tom Wright, portfolio holder for environment, said the message to dog walkers was clear, adding: “To most of you, well done and please carry on doing the right thing.

“To the few remaining offenders, it is both an antisocial act and a criminal offence not to pick up from any public place, unless the landowner has granted a specific exemption, and the council won’t hesitate to serve a fixed penalty notice or prosecute offenders.”

Email to report incidents.

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