DOG owners in Horsham have spoken out against the abuse they get from people as they walk their pets in the town centre.
Marguerite Harrod and Jane Beale both live in the town centre and say they regularly receive verbal abuse from people as they clear up after their dogs.
Sometimes shoppers complain to them for just coming into the town centre with them.
Marguerite, who walks her shitzu Harry, said: “We both live in the town centre and we have to walk through the centre to get to anywhere, including the park.
“Only this week a guy came out of Waitrose and I was picking the mess up. He said to me ‘It’s disgusting. I can’t believe you are bringing it into town. Children play here and it’s next to a restaurant as well’.
“Someone from the restaurant was actually there and he didn’t complain at all. I said I was picking it up, but he didn’t stop.
“I’m doing the right thing and still being criticised.
“One thing I cannot understand is that people expect dogs to be walked in the park, but dogs still make a mess in the park and that’s where children play.
“I’ve seen places a lot worse. In northern France there’s dog poo everywhere.”
Jane’s dog is called Tchiga, which means ‘little girl’ in Spanish. She said: “I find it really annoying when people don’t clear up after their dogs. I’ve cleared up other people’s before now. We’re very conscientious about it.
“I have had a woman come out of her house and just look at me. She stood there with her hands on her hips.
“I asked her if anything was wrong and she said ‘I’m just watching you’.
“Once a man complained that she was having a wee, but you can’t predict when they are going to go.”
They added that although they know a lot of dog owners who live in the town centre, there are no dog waste bins provided there.
“There are none in the town centre, not even in the Causeway. There aren’t any bins in East Street,” Marguerite said.
“They are only in the park. I feel bad putting it in the normal bins and people look at you as you do it, but I won’t leave it on the ground.”
A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “We haven’t got any plans to install dog waste facilities in Horsham town centre, given the few people who walk their dogs there.
“If on the rare occasion it’s needed, it’s perfectly permissible for a dog owner to use a town centre litter bin for dog waste, of which there are many.
“With regard to East Street, we have kept the area clear of street furniture, which includes litter bins, so as to keep within the design concept keeping the space open plan.
“We litter pick and cleanse the town centre, as well as monitor litter levels, and nothing has been found to date that suggests that a significant issue exists in East Street. We are, of course, happy to review this as necessary.”
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