A GROUP of Musselburgh residents are urging people to pick up after their pooches in a bid to call foul on the Honest Toun’s dog dirt problem.

They are also calling on East Lothian Council to take action to improve the issue, which they say is affecting the whole town.

Blackspot areas highlighted include the banks of the River Esk, West Holmes Gardens, the lane from Stoneybank Terrace to Stoneybank Gardens South and Eskview.

Mum-of-two Helen Egan, 40, said her husband stood on dog dirt when he got out of the car near a grass verge outside their house when it was dark.

“It’s not the first time either,” she said. “My children have stood on it in their shoes and we have gone over it with buggies. It’s everywhere.”

She stressed the need for people to pick up after their pets.

She added: “Down by the river there are quite a lot of bins, including a couple of bins specifically for dogs, and along the seafront, there are plenty of bins.

“In Aberdeenshire they have put dog bags for picking up beside the dog bins.”

Fiona Erskine, 50, said: “I used to stay at Eskview and it was a nightmare round there.”

She said that motorists were stopping at a “grassy bit” near her home and letting dogs out.

Jan Fairbairn, who boards dogs for pet owners, said the banks of the Esk were a particular blackspot, saying: “It really does annoy me when I’m out and about, and I have always got a pocket full of bags, that people just don’t pick up. I think its getting worse.

“The unfortunate thing for us is we have only got a hedge, we have not got a garden, so we step out straight out on to the pavement, and if someone has allowed their dogs to make a mess, the smell can permeate into the house when you open you door.

“Some people let their dogs pee on the hedge – it’s disgusting. I don’t know what the answer is.

“If people would pick up that would solve the problem and is the bottom line really but it’s trying to persuade people. I’ve offered poo bags to people when I’m out and they reluctantly take it.”

Claire McLean, 44, said: “At Christmas I went to Linlithgow where my parents live and I noticed the lack of it. I’m just so used to it here. I didn’t have to say once to the children ‘watch your feet’ whereas here you are constantly scanning the ground.

“The thing that’s made it worse for me recently is that there’s a lot of lights out, even at Fisherrow it’s pitch black, so when you’re walking the children to clubs you can’t see it.”

She mooted the idea of fencing off grassed areas for dogs to use.

Heather Greg said: “We have got two dogs and when I’m walking along the road, I hope people don’t think it’s me.”

She said personal dog poo bag dispensers could be bought for 99p and could be kept in the pocket all the time.

She added: “I have noticed that people are picking it up, putting it in bags and dropping the bags.”

A council spokesperson said: “We provide ample bins and signage throughout the county, and designated dog spaces would still require owners to collect their dog’s poo.

“Unfortunately, a minority of dog owners will not abide by their legal responsibilities in this regard. The fact that we see incidents of dog fouling in children’s playparks, school grounds, sports pitches and other ‘non-dog’ areas shows the lack of regard shown by these individuals towards our communities and facilities.

“The issue undoubtedly increases during the winter, when dark nights reduce the effectiveness of peer policing.

“A number of staff within the council, along with our partners in Police Scotland, are authorised to issue fixed penalty fines to those witnessed as committing an offence. The fixed penalty fine is £80, which increases to £120 if it is not paid within 28 days. However, when council or police staff are spotted, then remarkably all dog poo is picked up.

“As dogs and their owners are creatures of habit, it’s often the case that the same dog is responsible for fouling in the same small area. We would recommend people to report dog fouling offences through the council’s website eastlothian.gov.uk. All information is treated in confidence.

“Our DogWatch campaign and East Lothian Litter Initiative continue to promote messages and activities to address this issue.”