I regularly - say twice a month - see dogs in the dog-free area.  On most occasions, I speak to the dog owners and politely suggest that they must have missed seeing the 'No Dogs' signs.
Reactions range from contrite to aggressive - with the unpleasant and aggressive far outnumbering the reasonable ones.
Occasionally, I walk by without saying anything, when I just don't feel like being abused or even threatened.
How do others handle this - or am I the only one to get involved? 

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As I walked through the park this morning I saw a man inspect his large poodle's droppings, then push them on to a flower bed with his toe. A large black poodle. I called out that he was meant to pick it up, but he did not respond - just turned and walked away.
How do you get the message across to people like that?
How about the following 7-pronged strategy:
1/ ask politely - as you did.
2/ If that fails take out phone or camera and take their photo, a pic of the dog and the droppings.
3/ call me and any other volunteers who live round the park to come to your support on their mobiles - I will happily come to your support if I am available. I am sure Sarah would be interested in helping too.
4/ call the community police on 0845 456 7000 - for this is a legal offence and liable to a £60 fine, so it is quite legitimate to call the police.
5/ Perhaps publish the guilty dog owners photo and their dog on this website. We need to discuss this at next meeting of the committee - can you ask for it to be added for discussion? Could be controversial!
6/ Call the Council Dog warden and send them details of the offence.
7/ Ask council to put up special signs saying that dog owners can be fined £60 for this offence, they do this elsewhere in Bristol, so why not in St A P? (our new notice boards will say: Please keep control of your dog and put dog waste in the special bins etc - but does not mention any fines ) .
8/ Enlist the support of dog owners in this strategy, the vast majority of whom would be keen also to eradicate this anti-social behaviour.
Thanks, Martin - some good ideas there. Some more or less practical than others.
I have considered taking photos - indeed, before I learned how to use the photo facility on my phone (I'm technologically well behind the times!) I twice pretended to take photos of people with dogs in the dog-free area: they didn't like it one bit, and on one occasion I felt lucky to escape in one piece!

The problem is always going to be that a photo is not proof, and there might be legal ramifications to publishing a photo and saying 'this person committed an offence' without forensic proof.

However, taking a photo is a way of bringing home to people just how visible they are when leaving dog mess behind.

A warning note: I once took a photo of a group of youths obstructing one of the paths in the park, and forcing everyone to walk on the grass: I was threatened with violence, abused, and loudly called a paedophile: this went on for months, not only in the park, but in surrounding streets. It was only when the ringleader was warned by the police that he faced arrest the next time I reported it, that it stopped: but I still don't walk through the park after school as a result.

So, while individual action is sometimes effective, it can be dangerous: which, of course, is why so much antisocial behaviour goes unchallenged.
Here's an update, Martin.

In the park today, two lads - say 11 and 13 - with a dog in the children's area. Me: 'Guys, dogs aren't allowed in here'. Lad with dog walks away from me and stops again a few yards away. Me, approaching: 'Dogs aren't allowed in here, you'll have to take him out'. Same effect.

After several attempts along these lines I got the phone out and pretended to take a photo. This got a response - a shout of 'paedo'.

So, that's not a useful approach, I fear.
most dog owners who do this are not actually kids - but adults - so you wont get that particular kind of abuse from them - they may say something unpleasant though. Also I think they will now think twice about coming back with their dog to the dog free area - so I am sure you will have done some good. But do call me on my mobile and I'll come and support you if there is any hassle ( email me at martinweitz@focusproductions.co.uk ). The other good news is that the new notice boards contain a large map of the park indicating in large letters the DOG FREE AREA - there are also instructions about dog waste. so you will be able to show it to people or refer to it.
Those new initiatives will help, Martin - and thanks for the offer of assistance. I haven't yet felt I needed backup: I mentioned this incident in order to maintain awareness of the problem.
I'll email you for your number, though, and keep it on my phone - just in case.

It is mainly adults, as you say - probably about 20% of the instances I've seen have been children. At least the children don't threaten violence - although one did offer to get his uncle to sort me out. ;o)
I wondered if it would be possible to make the dog free area more clearly defined with signs. I regularly see dogs in the dog free area - if there were larger, clearer signs - and maybe if it was repainted on the path again (it used to be at the top Sommerville Road entrance) - it would make it harder for people to ignore.
I saw an older teenager with his dog in there last week - too lazy to walk round to the other entrance - he let it foul and didn't clear it up. Minutes later children in the same spot playing football.
I've heard this particular person can be aggressive if approached and his dog is vicious (Japanese Akito type breed) so felt I couldn't approach him.
We do need to report this person to the council's dog warden - as from what you are saying they have some kind of reputation. You can do this by asking for the Dog Warden on the main council phone number. If they are not there leave a message, she will call you back. She is very helpful but overstretched unfortunately. The problem is they have to see people committing an offence. Secondly, it was discussed this week at the Heritage Group that the group should apply for Neighbourhood Partnership funding for new dog signs at the entrances to the dog free area. Would you and Bill like to take this forward it only requires going along to a public meeting and putting the case. Finally, this is just type of problem that should also be reported to the community police 0845 4567000 - unless they have been cut already.
there has been a dog of this type in the area for some years, accompanied by a subcontinent Asian youth. He typically allows the dog to foul the footpath, with no apparent intention of clearing up: I challenged him once, and threatened him with the police if he didn't clear it up, at which he point he phoned his father to bring a bag, as he never carries one.
His father is very aggressive.
Hi, Unfortunately I haven't got time to help with the NP funding, due to other committments, but it is a good idea, so hopefully someone else may be able to take it forward. Is so, could it be suggested that DOG FREE AREA is written across each pathway at all the entrance points to the dog free area. Also maybe having dog waste bins at every entrance to the dog area with a supply of bags in a dispenser would help - less excuses if people are asked to clean it up!

hello Bill and Martin

and a Happy New 'dog-poo-free' Year! if only....

will get back to mark and Jon with your suggestions as they are taking this issue forward on behalf of the ASB group.


besty wishes sarah

Thanks, Sarah - and a happy new year to you.  ;o)


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