Dog mess is the bane of an owner’s life, whether you’re pooper scooping your own garden or picking up on a walk. Every responsible dog owner will naturally make sure they’re carrying plenty of bags to clean up after their pet, which is why it’s always galling when you come across mess left behind by someone who just couldn’t be bothered. Not only is it socially unacceptable, it’s unhygienic, especially in parks and green spaces where people regularly walk or play. Many parasites and illnesses can be spread in this way, so beyond being unpleasant it’s actually dangerous not to dispose of waste appropriately.
In a bid to encourage owners to prepare themselves properly for walks, some councils will soon be introducing legislation allowing them to impose a £100 on-the-spot fine for walkers caught out with their dogs if they are not carrying waste disposal bags. If not paid in a timely manner, this fine could be raised to a maximum of £1000.
Whereas previously it was possible to fine those who chose not to pick up, or who bagged the waste but didn’t dispose of it in a bin, the new rules will make it easier to spot walkers who don’t intend to do their duty.
Councils assert that this measure is intended as a friendly reminder to owners, rather than a punitive measure. As a dog owner myself it is just second nature to stuff a fistful of bags into my pocket as I leave the house so I won’t get stuck without one, so the new rules don’t worry me! However, for those owners who tend to be absent-minded, or who don’t always pick up when they should, the threat of a fine might be what it takes to encourage them to adopt better habits.
The downside to the rule is that it might leave well-intentioned owners at risk of a fine if they use up their bags and are subsequently found not carrying any. An easy way around this is to ensure that you’re always carrying more than you will need. And remember, if you’ve used a bag, you can use any council bin to dispose of dog waste, not just specific “poo bins”!
What do you think about the new rules? Will it encourage responsible ownership, or will some people never learn? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!