A BEREAVED father has hit out at dog owners for allowing their pets to roam freely around children’s graves at Dovercourt Cemetery.

Paul Harris lost his son Neil in 1973 when he was aged just four.

He makes regular visits to the cemetery to visit Neil’s grave and the resting places of other family members.

Paul said: “Because we lost our son, we try to get in there every day.

"Some people are either forgetful about their animals or just don’t care.

“It’s a little bit upsetting when you see dog muck all over the children’s graves.”

Paul criticised dog owners for not being more vigilant when walking their pets.

He said: “People have let their dogs do their business there and not pick it up.

"We understand dogs need to do it but in the children’s section, they shouldn’t do it.”

“We got our son in there and we don’t like to see dog muck all over it.”

Paul added: “A lot of people used to take their dogs for walks through the cemetery.

"It’s a lot easier for them to do that than take it towards the beach.

"You do see dog mess everywhere down there.

"We don’t like to see dog muck there, but some people don’t care."

Peter Kotz, Tendring Council's cabinet member for assets, said dog fouling was completely unacceptable and ruined areas for others – as well as posing health risks.

He said: “Dog fouling is abhorrent anywhere, but particularly in a cemetery, and I would ask that the pet owners responsible for this mess take a good look at themselves.

“We will review signage around the cemetery requesting that dogs be kept on a lead at all times within the grounds and reminding people to clear up after their dogs, and our dog warden will also include these areas within their patrols to monitor the situation and deter dog fouling.

“Maintenance work is carried out regularly at our open spaces, including cemeteries, and where we find dog mess we do clear it up – but the onus should be on the pet owners.”