A GROUP of dog walkers are taking action to reduce fouling at two beauty spots in West Dorset.

Members from Bridport Dog Training Club and All Round Puppy and Dog Training Club have been out counting, weighing and spraying dog mess at Cogden Beach and Hive Beach.

They have teamed up with the local campaign Litter Free Coast and Sea and landowner National Trust to tackle the growing problem.

Helen Freeman, one of the local dog walkers involved in the project, said: “We had felt that dog fouling was an issue at these sites for a while and have handed out dog mess bags in the past to local dog walkers but we were all shocked when we recorded, sprayed and picked up the dog mess and discovered the extent of the issue.”

They used brightly coloured spray paint commonly used to mark sheep on farms and discovered that up to 68 fouling incidents accumulated per week in the small area surveyed below the Cogden beach car park.

The group also picked up two stone of dog mess from around Cogden and Hive beach on Friday, in order to make sure the area is clear for Easter visitors and grazing cattle.

The group is trying to raise awareness of the impact dog mess can have on livestock and bathing water quality.

Local vet Barry O'Mahony added: “Neosporosis is the most frequently diagnosed cause of abortion in cattle in the UK and cattle become infected through dog mess.

“Dogs become disease hosts by consuming infected tissue in their food then they then shed infected eggs through their faeces.

“Cattle who ingest these eggs can become infected and this can cause cattle abortion.

“If your dog does foul on grazing land, even if no cattle are grazing on it at the time, it is important to remove and dispose of it carefully”.

Matilda Bark, coordinator of the Litter Free Coast and Sea Campaign, said: “Dog mess is also very high in bacteria and can affect bathing water quality results at designated bathing beaches.

“A few people not picking up could cause a local bathing beach to fail its water quality tests and this can have a negative knock on effect on local tourism reliant businesses.”