Crafty kids have been getting creative in an effort to encourage dog owners in County Durham to behave responsibly.
As part of Durham County Council’s #FollowOurLead campaign, primary school children across the county were challenged to take part in a poster competition to raise awareness of new dog control powers.
From 1 June, under a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), it became an offence in County Durham to allow dogs into fenced off play areas covered by the order. This is to ensure the safety of children and to protect them from the dangers of dog mess.
Pupils from Framwellgate Moor Primary School in Durham, Rosa Street Primary School in Spennymoor and The Grove Primary School in Consett took up the challenge to design eye-catching posters to tell people to keep dogs out of the fenced off play areas.
One entry from each school was selected as a winning design to be displayed in a fenced off play area near each school.
Alexandros Mylonopoulos, age 9, was the winner from Framwellgate Moor Primary School. Ana Tarling, from Year 2, won for Rosa Street Primary School, and Katelyn Scorer, age 10, took the top spot for The Grove Primary School.
In addition to having their posters installed as signs at the play areas, all three children were awarded a framed print of their design and a £20 high street shopping voucher funded by their respective Area Action Partnership (AAP).
Presenting the framed prints and vouchers alongside the council’s anti-dog fouling mascot, Scoop, Ian Hoult, neighbourhood protection manager, said: “We’re thrilled the children have taken part in our #FollowOurLead campaign and are helping to spread the word about the new dog control powers.
“While we appreciate the majority of dog owners are responsible and don’t take dogs into children’s fenced off play areas, there are still the minority who do.
“We hope dog owners follow the children’s lead and make sure their dogs are exercised away from the fenced off play areas.”
Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, added: “All of the children have done a tremendous job designing attractive signs to encourage positive behaviour.
“We’re incredibly impressed by the high standard and convincing vibrancy of the children’s artwork, which will certainly stand out and hopefully persuade dog owners to be responsible and considerate of others.”
As well as not allowing dogs into fenced off play areas, the new PSPO continues to make it an offence to fail to pick up after a dog.
However, the order also includes new powers including making it an offence to allow a dog to stray and an offence if you fail to put a dog on a lead when asked to do so by an authorised officer.
Failing to follow the new rules can result in a £100 fixed penalty notice being issued, or prosecution through the magistrates courts if the penalty notice is not paid within the timescale.
For more information about the new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) visit www.durham.gov.uk/dogcontrol or call 03000 261 000.
Report dog fouling online at www.durham.gov.uk/dogfouling
Report stray dogs online at www.durham.gov.uk/strayanimals or call 03000 261 000.
For dangerous or emergency dog situations please contact the police on 999.