‘Our lives would be easy if we could train dogs to pick up poo’

Dog fouling enforcement officer Phil Bradley with dog walkers on the promenade at Sandylands in Morecambe.
Dog fouling enforcement officer Phil Bradley with dog walkers on the promenade at Sandylands in Morecambe.

Dog fouling blights many lives but thanks to the diligent work of one council employee the problem is being tackled head on. Reporter Michelle Blade accompanied enforcement officer Phil Bradley on a morning’s work.

Phil Bradley covers the entire Lancaster district, mostly on his bicycle, issuing fixed penalties for dog fouling or not having a dog on a lead.

Phil said: “I try and catch people who are fouling our great town.

“I’m out there to catch anyone who doesn’t pick up their dog poo.

“Dog fouling is one of my pet hates.”

Former dog handler in the army and the police, Phil has worked with dogs for 15 years searching for bombs, drugs and cash.

He said: “If we could train dogs to pick up their own poo, our lives would be easy.

“We are here to educate people to pick up their dog poo. People have not been aware that not picking dog poo up is an offence. A lot of work we do is in conjunction with the public. The feedback I’m getting is its great to see someone out there doing this. It is a big issue.”

On the promenade, there were some dog walkers who Phil encounters regularly.

Sue Croft, from Sandylands, who has two dogs, said: “I come with my dogs every day and I think it’s a good thing that Phil is out and about. Unfortunately he can’t be everywhere at once. People let their dogs poo everywhere, often late at night. They let them off on the cliffs at Sandylands.”

Karon Hanlon, a dog walker, said: “There are a lot of regulars up here and if people don’t clean up, we are all tarred with the same brush.

“It’s mostly people who visit the area with their dogs who are not interested in cleaning up, not so much the locals.”

Phil is part of Lancaster City Council’s dog warden team which consists of one full time dog warden, one part-time dog warden and one part-time dog fouling enforcement officer, they are supervised by a technical officer.

Part of his job involves enforcing legislation by targeting problem areas.

A spokesperson for Lancaster City Council said: “Phil targets areas that have been identified as problematic in relation to dog fouling.

“He will talk to local residents to help identify the culprits and may include some covert surveillance.

“Due to the nature of his work Phil can be out and about before dawn and well after dusk in pursuit of these fouling offenders.

“The dog wardens themselves also play an integral part in enforcing the dog control orders and are ably assisted by the police and the PCSOs, where appropriate.

“All members of the dog warden service are also now equipped with body worn cameras.

“This is used to assist them when dealing with potential vulnerable situations they come across during their day to day duties.”

Since January 2014, the dog warden service received:

*350 complaints of fouling on verges and highway

*58 complaints of fouling within premises

*54 complaints of fouling in back streets

The dog warden service have issued 47 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling since January 2014.

*For any dog warden enquiries email dogwardens@lancaster.gov.uk or call 01524 582935.