FARMERS fed up with mess discarded at their land have issued a stark warning to 'inconsiderate' dog owners not cleaning up after their beloved pets.

Bags of waste abandoned by people from Didcot, Abingdon and surrounding villages has turned into a big problem for owners of the farm at Milton Hill, by the reservoir, who are considering drastic measures if the litter is not cleared.

A sign on the side of the path that alerted people of a charity clay pigeon shoot in the area earlier this week, also said : "The path is open by permission of the landowner and we are pleased people use it to enjoy the countryside.

"We have recently had a problem with people leaving dog mess in plastic bags on the farm.

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"If this continues we will close this path I am afraid."

Dog fouling has become a major problem for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse after a surge in puppy ownerships during the pandemic.

In the past year, the two district councils' joint 'envirocrime' team has received more than 118 complaints about dogwalkers leaving poop in plastic bags on the ground, near a litter bin or even hanging from a tree branch.

Sally Povolotsky, Oxfordshire County councillor for Hendreds and Harwell Division, shared a photo of the sign at Milton Hill and urged visitors to respect the countryside and especially farmers' land.

The Liberal Democrat councillor commented: "This very popular circular walk is at risk of being closed due to inconsiderate dog walkers leaving faeces around the farm.

"Plastic bags can kill farm livestock, not to mention wildlife, and dog faeces alone can cause livestock to abort.

"Please tread lightly and do not leave anything behind.

"Respect our countryside and especially farmers land as your inaction could cause death and harm."

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While Ms Povolotsky warned that dog waste can seriously harm farm animals, it can also be dangerous to people of all ages who can be infected with toxocariasis from the faeces.

It is a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites which are passed though animal faeces – most commonly from cats, dogs, and foxes.

However, it usually affects young children who come into contact with contaminated soil when they play.

Currently, envirocrime officers can issue a £50 fine to someone who fails to clean up after their dog.

In addition, if the case is taken to court this could cost the owner or person in charge of the animal up to £1,000.