An open letter to Waltham Forest Council

Fed up, like many other local residents, with the ongoing problem of dog fouling in Walthamstow, I sent the following email to Waltham Forest Council today. Not that I have much hope they’ll actually do anything.

Dear [sent to several emails @walthamforest.gov.uk],

I am writing to you concerning the ongoing problem of dog fouling – lots and lots and lots of it – in our local area. I appreciate the Council has said in the past tackling this is a priority for them, however I’m afraid to say I can see absolutely no improvement. If anything, dog fouling has got even worse over the past year.

The dog fouling in our street (Goldsmith Rd, E17) and surrounding streets (Lowther Rd, St Andrew’s Rd, Church Rd etc etc) is frankly obscene and a health hazard. Every day I walk my 5 year old daughter to and from school through at least half a dozen piles of shit, often walked around and smeared across the pavements. It’s disgusting. What are we supposed to do, walk on the road? Is it acceptable that children should have to go to school with faeces on their shoes, because of a number of dog owners who choose not to clean up after their dog? Should we have to open our front door to find a pile of shit right outside our gate and walked all over the pavement outside our house, which we have to somehow step over/carry our daughter over? Would you encourage parents to drive their children this short distance to school instead of walking? Surely it is the Council’s responsibility to address this problem seriously and effectively? I should add that we’re in just 5 minutes walk from a designated dog walking area.

I have written to the Council, including the dogteam@walthamforest.gov.uk address, several times over the past couple of years – with photos, details of time/location/date – and have never had anything more than a generic autoresponse from the council (nothing whatsoever from the ‘dog team’ whose existence I often doubt). Nor has it ever led to any improvement – when someone came past our street painting the ‘clean up after your dog’ notices on the pavement and was reminded that we’d asked the council several times to please paint signs on the corners of Goldsmith Rd/Lowther Rd he said he couldn’t as he’d run out of paint. Which is more than a little pathetic, you must admit. Plenty of other local residents have written to the Council and have experienced the same failure to find any improvement (and that includes other ‘I haven’t got any paint left’ replies). Dog fouling often occurs in the same places at the same time of day, so the Council can hardly say they don’t know where to start.

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Painted signs are a start but seem to make little difference to some dog owners. The only effective way of tackling this indifference is to increase fines – £80 is clearly not a sufficient deterrent – and for someone to actually come and clean our streets more. It’s currently local residents who have to wash/shovel up other people’s dog shit if they don’t want it to be walked over in even wider area or step in it themselves. I’ve even had dog owners bag their dog’s doings and then leave the bag on the pavement outside our house, so it can’t even be washed away by the rain, and eventually I’ve had to pick it up and put it in our rubbish bin.

Can the Council please provide details of its response to the problem? Can they confirm that fines are being imposed on dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets? Do the Council have any new plans for tackling this problem, one which is evidently widespread throughout Waltham Forest?

Please can the Council take this issue more seriously and take effective measures to reduce the revolting amount of dog fouling in our area.

Yours sincerely

Rudolf Abraham