For the third week in a row I have found myself stepping in dog mess and I can’t begin to talk about my frustrations with this bugbear. Whilst I am fully aware that there are far more urgent and greater issues going on throughout the world, my job is to talk about those in the pet world, and for me, dog owners who do not clear up after their pet are just plain irresponsible.
I believe that part of what it takes to be a good dog owner is consideration; we should have it for our own dogs, other people’s dogs and for each other. Believe it or not the great outdoors is not our dogs’ private toilet and it shouldn’t be treated as such. Granted, I am quite clumsy and don’t have the best spatial awareness, but that shouldn’t mean that I am punished by stepping into dog mess three weekends on-the-trot.
I am completely of the opinion that, on the whole, there are not enough dog foul waste bins around the UK. When out walking my dog, the few bins that I would use are always full to the top. However, this doesn’t mean that I just let my dog go about his business and leave it there for some poor unwitting member of the public to step in. I used to take a poop-a-scoop with me at all times, as well as a few plastic bags to pop any excrement in. Then, if a waste bin was full, I would keep it with me and take it to the natural waste section of my local refuse centre. I know not everyone has a centre of this type close to them but if you do they can be helpful for this purpose.
Thankfully, I have found an even better solution in the form of a product called the Dicky Bag. Simply put, it is a container made of the same material as a wetsuit, which comes with a strong odour/air freshener and zips up to allow you to store your dog’s excrement before you dispose of it, without it smelling. I now take this nifty little product everywhere with me when I am out and about with my dog.
Going back to my concerns about the amount of dog excrement left on pathways and parks, not only is it inconsiderate but it is also unsanitary. A lot of the mess I see is around my local play park, meaning that parents have to be even more vigilant when letting their small children play. If a child were to touch dog faeces and then put their fingers in their mouth, there is the potential of contracting E.Coli, a disease that can cause infections with symptoms ranging from vomiting to severe and dangerous diarrhoea.
Cleaning up after your dog is basic courtesy and it only takes a few seconds. Yet not undertaking something that is so quick and easy to do but so offensive and horrible if not done, will only land the irresponsible owner with a meagre £50 to £80 fine. I don’t think this is anyway near enough to deter offenders from breaking their bad habits; I feel that a much heftier fine to the sum of hundreds of pounds would be much more effective.
I don’t think in any way that the dogs are to blame here, they can’t be expected to hold it in if they really need to go. I do feel that those people who simply ignore their dog’s mess and leave someone else to deal with it are selfish, ignorant and have no concept of how their actions affect others. This may sound a bit extreme, but it really isn’t hard to take an extra 30 seconds out of your day to pick up the mess each time your dog goes to the loo in public.
Whether it is down to laziness, ignorance, or people feeling that picking up mess is beneath them and that the council will do it for them, it is just wrong. In an ideal world, everyone would be considerate of others and there would be hardly any mess to avoid when you are out. Unfortunately this just isn’t the case and something needs to be done by the government and local councils, especially as it cost around £22 million each year to clear up dog excrement left by so many dog owners.