Some of Harrogate’s most beautiful locations are being spoilt by a small minority of irresponsible dog owners who fail to clean up after their dogs.
That’s according to Yorkshire Water – one of the region’s largest landowners – who are becoming increasingly exasperated by the inability of a few to do the right thing.
It estimates that it removes tonnes of dog mess from its 120 recreational sites every year, even though most boast numerous dog bins, with its sites in Harrogate, including Fewston, Swinsty and Grimwith, becoming real problem spots.
The company, which has spent millions of pounds opening up tens of thousands of acres of often stunning land around its reservoirs for the general public to enjoy, says the problem has reached epidemic proportions.
So far this year, there has already been more than a dozen occasions where company wardens have had to clear areas of some sites which have been practically carpeted in dog muck.
It’s also becoming increasingly concerned by the senseless behaviour of a few who seem to prefer to hang bags filled with dog mess from tree branches, rather than disposing of it correctly in nearby dog bins.
Such behaviour continues to occur despite Yorkshire Water employing every available incentive to encourage dog owners to do the right thing, from installing dozens of dog bins and giving away free dog mess bags, through to more punitive measures including organising regular visits by council wardens who are able to fine anyone not clearing up after their dog.
Geoff Lomas (pictured), recreation and catchment manager for Yorkshire Water, comments:
We’ve spent millions opening up some of our stunning reservoir sites, with thousands of people using them every week for their enjoyment, whether it be for exercise or to simply take advantage of some of the incredible vistas, flora and fauna that they offer.
So it’s incredibly sad that despite our best efforts, we’re hearing reports that on occasions people are having to spend more time watching where they’re walking rather than actually enjoying their walk and taking in some of the incredible views on offer.
Not only does such irresponsible behaviour make it harder for everyone else to enjoy our beautiful sites, but it’s also very unpleasant for the people who have to clear it up.
Our message to them is simple: Please do the right thing and make sure you always clean up after your dog and dispose of any mess in the correct way.
With more warm weather forecast over the coming week and school half-terms looming, the company is encouraging people to visit the recreational area of its website – www.yorkshirewater.com/recreation – where visitors can find all sorts of ideas for walks and other outside activities local to them.