Taking a lead on dog ownership

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A DOG warden is taking he lead in teaching the borough’s schoolchildren about responsible dog ownership.

John Wilson, North Tyneside Council’s environmental protection officer, has so far talked to around 1,000 pupils about looking after their four-legged friends.

He has already delivered talks at eight primary schools following complaints from some residents living on routes to schools.

Their concerns were around the problem of dogs – often being walked by children and their guardians on their way to school – not being under control and dog waste not being picked up.

John, who has been a dog warden for the past five years, has been talking to the pupils about how to keep the animals safe and controlled and the consequences of not clearing up dog mess, which can incur a £50 fine.

He has also been teaching the children how to recognise the animal’s different mood signs.

The sessions are targeted at children between the ages of eight and 11, and aim to educate not only the youngsters, but also to take the message about responsible dog ownership home to their families.

John said: “Most dog owners in the borough are responsible and do keep their animals under control.

“However, it’s vital that our future dog owners are educated about the responsibilities of correctly looking after an animal.

“It’s also just as important that they pass on the message and influence current dog owners that they know, in particular, their parents or guardians.

“Later this year, the legal side of owning a dog will change, and more offences that could receive a fixed penalty will be introduced.

“This emphasises the need for people of all ages to understand what makes a good dog owner.”