Walking on a public footbath often requires equal amounts of looking ahead and looking down. Even today, with strict fines in place, more often than not, you’ll encounter a ‘present’ left by someone’s dog, resulting in an unwanted game of Dodge-the-Dog-Poo.
The majority of dog owners have consideration towards others. However, some simply cannot be bothered to clean up after their pet and even allow them to go off on their own to make their own decision where to take a toilet break; it needs to stop.
Since the lockdown, it is said that the amount of dog poo on Britain’s streets has increased by a staggering 200 per cent, and frankly, the nation is fed up with it. To fight back against inconsiderate dog owners, a rubbish collection company has started a bold new campaign to force dog owners to put nappies on their furry friends – or face steep fines.
What’s behind the increase in dog poo on British streets?
Some say it is due to a lack of police presence with our fine officers being occupied with dealing with lockdown breakers and a summer of protests. Others have said lockdown itself is the problem. With fewer people on the streets, lazy dog owners have fallen into bad habits and with nobody around to judge them for leaving a poo (or two), they’re going about their day without cleaning the mess their four-legged friend has made.
When interviewed, one owner – who wished to remain anonymous – blamed the rules on staying at home: “I know it’s not right, but I’ve been leaving the house just to walk the dog around streets near me rather than the park where there are loads of poo bins, and then I go straight home. I didn’t want to get fined for wandering around looking for a bin instead of exercising, and I didn’t want to carry a bag of poo with me longer than I needed to!”.
Mark Hall, a spokesperson for Divert.co.uk, said, “It might sound like a joke, but this is deadly serious – dog poo is a blight on our streets, and owners must be held accountable one way or another. Dogs in the UK produce 900 tonnes of poo every day, and we don’t want that to start finding its way to our streets, parks, and footpaths.
We all love our furry friends, and they bring a lot of joy into owners’ lives, but it shouldn’t mean someone else has to deal with the telltale piles of poo that seem to follow behind.”
It’s not only the disgusting and annoying aspect of this poo-explosion that have driven Mark and his colleagues to call for nappies on dogs. Dog faeces can be extremely harmful to one’s health. They contain a dangerous bacteria called toxocariasis, which can cause blindness. It is also why many children’s play areas ban dogs as children are notorious for getting into anything messy or dirty at a moment’s notice, and in the case of dog poo, it could have serious long-term consequences.
The proposal is much like some dog owners do when their female dog is in season, owners are required to put a nappy on their dog when walking in public spaces. Yes, to some, this will seem a drastic move, but it’s not the first legal requirement put in place to stop dog owners fouling up our streets.
A law passed in 1982, The Control of Dogs Ordinance, states it’s an offence to fail to clean up a dog’s faeces while in public – and no excuses, such as not having poo bags or not knowing the law, will wash when trying to challenge a prosecution or fine. Of course, this law relies on a police officer spotting the dog – or its owner – in the act, whereas the proposal to make dogs wear nappies in public spaces would be constantly visible, and offenders could be spotted much more easily.
Mark concluded: “It’d be unacceptable to let a human defecate on the street, there’d be uproar if it suddenly became common to pick your way through human faeces – why do some people think it’s fine because it’s a dog? We don’t want to get to a point where dogs are seen as a public nuisance – they’re man’s best friend, but not when they’re messing up pavements, getting stuck in pram wheels and all over your toddler’s shoes.
“Fines for not complying would certainly send a message, and we hope this campaign will make dog owners sit up and take notice, as well as the lawmakers who crackdown on this kind of behaviour – it quite literally stinks.”
Dog-poo on Britain’s streets has been a problem for every generation, and although steps have been put in place to minimise it, there will always be some owners who feel they are above the law. Dog nappies are have been around for a while, and they do make sense.
The idea put forward by Mark and colleagues is innovative; whether some influential and powerful dog owners will allow it to be placed into the statute books is another matter altogether.