A HEADTEACHER fears a child could be blinded by falling into piles of dog dirt left outside his school.
John Robertshaw said he had now been forced to install CCTV to catch lazy owners who refuse to clear up after their pets outside Sacred Heart RC Primary, Colne.
His warnings about toxocariasis - an infection spread from animals to humans via infected faeces - follows a catalogue of problems with dog fouling including:
- Children slipping over in dog dirt
- Pupils having to wear PE kit all day because of dirt on their clothes
- The school paying hundreds of pounds for professional steam-cleaning of pavements
- Extending the hours of the site supervisor to clean the path
- Dog dirt being trampled through classrooms
The school on Red Lane has bought and installed two cameras this week which will be recording 24 hours a day and watched during school hours through a live feed into the school office.
Mr Robertshaw said he approached a parent who runs Trawden-based CCTV company Eye CU and he installed the cameras for free and provided the monitors.
Any video footage showing dog fouling will be sent to Pendle Council for possible prosecution.
Mr Robertshaw said: “The problem really started about 12 months ago. There have been up to 16 piles found on the pavement by the school in one day.
“It has become a nightmare. Dog dirt is being trampled into school. A few children have slipped in piles of it and got it on their faces. Luckily none have got it in their eyes which could potentially leave them blind.
“Children have got dog dirt all over their trousers walking into school and had to wear school spares or their PE kit for the rest of the day.
“We have a parent and toddler group in school on a Friday morning and they are having to dodge the piles with their prams.
“Parents are complaining regularly about the issue. I think everyone is dumbfounded that anyone can think it is acceptable not to clear up after their dog.
“We have been in talks with the dog warden about the problem but unfortunately they can’t do anything unless they have proof.
“We have now spent thousands because of the problem, money we just don’t have that should be going towards the children’s education.
“We really hope these measures will resolve the issue.”
The pupils were visited by a member of Pendle Council’s environmental health team after attempts by dog wardens to catch the culprits failed.
Youngsters have drawn up 30 A3 posters asking people to clean up after their dog which will be placed on the railings.
David Alexander, senior environmental crime officer for Pendle Council said: “Dog fouling is an issue that we take very seriously, particularly in an area where there are lots of young families walking to and from school.
“Our environmental crime team have done patrols at various times of the day and the local Police Community Support Officers have done evening patrols.
“We can use the school’s CCTV footage to identify people who allow their dogs to foul. We’re hopeful that this could lead to prosecutions in the area, and help to cut down considerably the amount of dog waste being left on the streets around the school.”
Over the past year, Pendle Council has issued a total of 55 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling, each carrying a fine of £75. The council has also successfully prosecuted 20 people for dog fouling in that time.
It's disgraceful how much dog dirt there is
“The children get it all over their shoes. In the last week there have been big piles outside the school gates. It’s disgraceful how much dog dirt there is. ”
Emma-Jayne Meachin, whose daughter goes to Sacred Heart
“We’ve have a few instances where the kids have stepped in it and they’ve had to take their shoes off in the car. Hopefully the cameras will stop it.”
Joanne Roscoe, who has three children at the school
“It’s vile. Not only that but the school have had to spend money on it when it would be better spent on the children’s education.”
Paula Lovell, who has two children at the school