Sheffield’s dog-fouling hotspots can be revealed today – as more than 400 complaints were made about pooch poo in a year.
Figures revealed Sheffield City Council received the most complaints about dog mess in the S6 area – which includes Walkley, Hillsborough and Upperthorpe – in 2018 with 66 complaints.
S5 including Firth Park, Southey Green and Parson Cross was next with 48 complaints, followed by S12 – including Gleadless, Hackenthorpe and Intake – with 44 reports.
The Sheffield Litter Pickers group, whose members spend their free time helping to keep the city streets clean, highlighted how some dog walkers have an unsavoury habit of bagging their dog’s mess and then flinging it into trees.
They had to clear away about 30 bags of dog mess during a litter pick in Meersbrook in January and released a picture showing several of the bags hanging from a tree.
Iren Wadsworth, a group member, said: “We all remain baffled as to why folk go the effort of scooping up dog poo into a bag and then dump them or fling them into bushes and brambles or hang them from branches. I have no theory or clue why people do it.
“The plastic containing the poo does not degrade, like the poo does, and makes the problem worse.”
She feels it is difficult to establish how to tackle the problem and added: “More bins would be lovely in an ideal world but the solution to the problem isn't there, it's in people.
“Clearly they don't want to carry the bag for any time, the same as people with their drink bottles and cans. It's the same mind-set.
“Unless there is a bin right in front of them at any one time I don't think they would change their behaviour.”
The figures, revealed using the Freedom of Information Act, showed the authority received 429 dog fouling complaints last year.
Councillor Ben Curran, Labour councillor for Walkley, said: “Most dog walkers are considerate. They do the right thing but we are seeing more complaints of dog fouling in our community.
“As a local parent, I understand people’s frustrations with dog fouling. It feels like I constantly have to highlight dog poo on a footpath as we walk to school in the morning.
“It is a growing problem with real hotspots like Ruskin Park and roads linking to popular dog walking locations like the Bole Hills and Rivelin.
“Dog fouling is disgusting. It’s unsightly, messy and can cause health difficulties for people. All dog walkers should follow the ‘poop and scoop’ philosophy of picking up after their dogs.
“Dirty bags can then be put in the bin. I don’t think everyone is aware that they can put dog fouling bags in the black bins as well as dog fouling bins.”
Failing to clean up immediately after your dog in public is a crime and can land owners a £50 on-the-spot penalty or see them prosecuted and fined up to £1000.
While the council has not increased the number of dog waste bins, they have installed more signs.
In addition, 60 warning letters were sent to dog walkers last year in the city over their pet's uncleared waste.
The authority said areas which are more densely populated, such as S6, generally have a higher number of dog fouling complaints.
Councillor Lewis Dagnall, cabinet member for environment and streetscene at the council, said: “Most of us dog walkers take pride in our city and pick up after our dogs, and I’m pleased to see that overall complaints about dog fouling have reduced.
"Dog fouling isn't just unsightly, it's dangerous to humans and animals. It's rightly a criminal offence, and the council has increased signage around the city to remind people they could receive a fine of up to £1000 if they don’t pick up their dog waste.
"As a dog owner myself, I see good and bad behaviour as I'm walking Arthur around the city. To avoid leaving mess that spoils our streets and detracts from our brilliant green spaces, we'd ask people to take responsibility and use bags or scoops, putting the waste in the bins provided or in their own bins at home.”