Dog owners who walk their pets at the Kingley Vale nature reserve, near Chichester, are being urged to clean up after them.
The reserve has recently been blighted by dog owners discarding used bags in the car park and on hedgerows along a footpath.
Now district council dog officials are working with Natural England and West Sussex County Council to preserve the area’s beauty, and asking dog walkers and visitors to take their rubbish home with them.
Cllr John Connor, district cabinet member for environment said Kingley Vale was a wonderful place to visit, and was a key attraction for tourists. It was great for people of all ages to go walking, cycling or horse riding.
“Dog owners are welcome to enjoy it too, but we want to encourage all owners to take a more responsible approach to dog fouling,” he added.
“We know that there are many responsible dog owners who use the vale and who do clean up after their animals, doing their bit to help make a visit to Kingley Vale as pleasant an experience for everyone as possible.”
Dog control officer Viv Magrath warned that anyone seen allowing their dog to foul and not cleaning up after it could be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £75 (reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days of issue).
She said: “It’s very disappointing that some irresponsible dog owners are simply letting everyone down. Dog mess that has been left on paths - or in plastic bags next to the path – is unhygienic, unsightly and anti-social.
“Always carry something to clear up after your dog such as a ‘poop scoop’ or ‘poo pod’ to place used bags inside and which can be easily attached to a dogs lead. I am a dog owner myself and use these as it’s a convenient place to store bags of dog waste while walking in the countryside.”
*To report problems with dog fouling or provide details of offenders, call 01243 534734 or out of hours on 01243 785166. Alternatively, visit the council’s website at www.chichester.gov.uk