‘Don’t let your dog spoil our secret garden’ - children’s message to dog owners

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 May 2020

Emily French, 4, created this poster telling dog owners to pick up after their pets at Hillcrst Nature Reserve, Exmouth. Picture: Adam French

Emily French, 4, created this poster telling dog owners to pick up after their pets at Hillcrst Nature Reserve, Exmouth. Picture: Adam French

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Dog fouling at a ‘secret garden’ in Exmouth has prompted children to create posters encouraging pet owners to pick up after their four-legged friends.

Children have created posters telling dog owners to pick up after their pets at Hillcrst Nature Reserve, Exmouth. Picture: Adam FrenchChildren have created posters telling dog owners to pick up after their pets at Hillcrst Nature Reserve, Exmouth. Picture: Adam French

Four-year-old Emily French looks forward to her walks at Hillcrest Nature Reserve but the increase in dog fouling means her visits may have to end.

Her parents take her two or three times a week to the site for exercise and Emily enjoys throwing stones into the brook and exploring nature.

She was told that if something is not done about the dog poo at Hillcrest, she might not be able to visit, and this prompted her to create a poster urging owners to clean up after their pets.

The artwork has inspired other children who visit Hillcrest to put up posters too.

Children have created posters telling dog owners to pick up after their pets at Hillcrst Nature Reserve, Exmouth. Picture: Adam FrenchChildren have created posters telling dog owners to pick up after their pets at Hillcrst Nature Reserve, Exmouth. Picture: Adam French

East Devon District Council (EDDC), which manages the beauty spot, said it has had no reports of dog fouling in the area but is open to using the children’s designs for posters at the nature reserve.

Emily’s father Adam said: “We live just around the corner and we didn’t know much about it (Hillcrest) until recently – it’s lovely there.

“Most dog owners are responsible, but the fouling seems to be getting worse.

“Emily loves it – she calls it the secret garden.

“We told her if gets too bad we are going to have to stop coming down here.

“It is a shame that this lovely area is being spoilt by a few shameful dog owners.”

An EDDC spokesman said: “We have not received any reports of dog fouling in the area.

“However, we very much welcome what the children are making to ask dog owners to act responsibly in the reserve, and we’re happy to use their designs and create outdoor posters to use on the site.”

East Devon District Council’s Wild East Devon rangers manage the 1.3 hectacre woodland reserve near to Bassett’s Farm Primary School.

Dog owners are required by law to clean up after their pets, and those who do not could face a fixed penalty notice and possible prosecution.

Anyone who witnesses dog fouling should report it to EDDC by emailing streetscene@eastdevon.gov.uk or by ringing 01395 517528.


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