Orchard Vet's Blog
Pick up your poo!
The issue of dog fouling has been discussed in Parliament this week in the context of reducing plastic bag use. Anne Main, MP for St Albans has advocated that dog owners walking their pets in parks or the countryside should use a stick to flick pet poo into the undergrowth rather than pick it up using a plastic bag.
Mrs Main's concerns appear to be that the bags are not taken home and disposed of properly. She says, 'People think it's the right thing to do to pick it up, but when they find there aren't any bins, they jettison the poo-bag into the undergrowth or lob it over a garden fence where animals can eat them, children pick them up or cyclists ride into them.'
Dog mess is one of the most common causes of complaints to local councils. BBC research found that local authorities in England and Wales received some 73,824 complaints about dog fouling in 2014-15. Keep Britain Tidy estimates there are more than eight million dogs in the UK producing more than 1,000 tonnes of mess every day.
Failing to clear up your pet's poo is not only anti-social, an eyesore and smelly; it can spread diseases such as toxocariasis. A number of solutions have been tried to get dog owners to take responsibility for their pet's mess but, ultimately, pet-poo apathy has led to the banning of dogs from certain beaches and parks. The Dogs Trust and Keep Britain Tidy have joined forces to raise awareness of the problem through The Big Scoop campaign
Sandwell and Dudley Councils currently issue a £75 fixed-penalty notice for dog fouling; Birmingham Council's fixed fine is £80. There are higher penalties of up to £1000 if the offender is subject to a conviction in a magistrate's court (though Dudley MBC threaten a fine of up to £2500). However there are exemptions for registered blind users and for dog owners on certain kinds of heath, woodland, marsh and along highways with a speed limit of 50mph or more.
The full Parliamentary report can be read here.§