If the stick doesn’t work, then it seems we will have to try the carrot and dog owners are to be rewarded with prizes for cleaning up after their dogs.
Dog mess and the cleaning up of is a hot topic, one that incites passion in a number of people from a wide variety of background and one that is mentioned on this site quite often when dog owners fail to clean up and new solutions are proposed.
Most initiatives around the solution to this problem involve finding ways to penalise dog owners who fail to responsibly pick up after their dog but now it seems that one council has decided using ‘a stick’ obviously doesn’t work so now they’re trying the ‘carrot’.
According to the BBC, Highland Council in Inverness intends to trial for the next three months dishing out vouchers to those it deems to be ‘responsible dog owners’. These vouchers can then be used at local vets to get free worming tables to help cut down on roundworm infections.
This particular reward has been chosen because many park areas in the city are believed to be contaminated with dog roundworm. This poses a health risk for children but also for adult humans.
Sonia Howell, manager of Crown Vets which is a partner in the scheme, said: “Dog faeces are a known risk for the development of disease in people, particularly children, but fortunately this is easy to prevent by removing dog waste from public areas and by regular treatment of dogs with an effective wormer.”
The council say it is not just asking its enforcement officers to reward responsible dog owners but to also keep a look out for those being irresponsible at the same time who could face a fine of up to £50.
The question is, if a dog owner cannot be bothered to clean up after their dog’s mess and is not concerned about the state of the area’s parks then are they the sort to be bothered about worming their dogs? Will that person be changed by the offer of a voucher for worming tablets?
Perhaps vouchers for discounts off the annual dog booster injection or off any vet’s bill might work better, even if they had an expiry date, they still have a value as nobody knows when their dog might need the services of a local vet.
Perhaps councils should invest more money into raising awareness about the dog roundworm problem and the dangers of leaving dog mess lying around? This might have the result of guilt-tripping dog owners into cleaning up at last. More dog litter bins would also be helpful as many dog owners who do clean up after their dogs hate walking round with the bag till the nearest bin, which is backed up by the research done by Maurice Glyn and the team launching the Poopsta later this month.
Mind you, it was also reported that earlier this year there were three mothers with children in amongst those 11 offenders issues with fixed penalties for not cleaning up after their dogs, so maybe not.