DOG fouling across Bolton has led to almost 1,800 complaints about the amount of mess left on the town’s paths and parks.
New figures show residents rang the council 1,795 times between 2009 and 2013 to complain about the issue.
The data, revealed after a Freedom of Information request, also showed 99 fixed penalty notices of £75 have been given to dog owners caught not cleaning up their pet’s mess, while 11 people were successfully prosecuted — facing fines of up to £1,000.
Council bosses stress they have a zero tolerance policy to dog fouling, and will take all action necessary to fine irresponsible dogs owners who do not clean up after their pet.
A spokesman said: “Officers are unable to issue fines for dog fouling unless they witness someone in the act of allowing their dog to foul.
“The offence must be witnessed by an officer, for action to be taken, as this is a criminal offence and there must be evidence beyond all reasonable doubt.”
The most complaints about dog fouling were received in 2010, where there were 638 made — almost three times the number in 2013, at 240.
Bolton Council attributed the high numbers in 2010 to the special Love Bolton Hate Litter Campaign, which saw officers carry out dawn until dusk raids in fouling hot-spots and encourage residents to call in with their complaints.
But funding for the initiative was cut after 2010 because of the economic downturn.
The Bolton News reported on Tuesday how Dan Urmton, aged 45, of Whitton Mews in Horwich, was fined £320 after allowing his terriers to foul on a children’s playing field.
Cllr Roger Hayes, for Smithills, has launched his own crusade against dog fouling.
He said the figures show there were problems right across Bolton with owners not picking up after their pets and he has been delivering leaflets asking residents about the issue around his ward of Smithills.
Cllr Hayes added: “It’s a problem across Bolton, but in Smithills around Church Road and Harpers Lane is a particular issue.
“The problem is the number of staff at Bolton Council. We have got some excellent officers in this area but there are not enough of them.
“People like dogs but some of them are not responsible owners.”
Owner of Tom’s Toy shop in Little Lever Lorraine Webb runs a Facebook group for the area and says she has been inundated with complaints about dog owners.
The mum-of-two added: “At the end of the day it’s not rocket science to pick it up.
“There’s a cut through by the cricket club that is like a game of ‘dodge the poo’, it’s disgusting.
“But there’s so much about at the moment. It’s not just Little Lever, it’s everywhere.”