One of the most annoying things for responsible dog owners is owners that refuse to clean up after their dogs. It’s unsightly, it’s selfish and it gives dog owners a bad name. It also leads to dogs being banned from areas such as parks and beaches when, if the owners were responsible and cleaned up after their dogs, there would be no need for such draconian measures.
Only the other week I was walking along a beach in Prestatyn, North Wales, and a dog owner pretended not to notice as her dog fouled the beach behind her, before she walked on – refusing to clean it up. It’s people like her that are the reason dogs are getting banned from public place. Now a new scheme in West Yorkshire aims to educate the irresponsible dog owners to the plight of dog fouling, and to get them to clean up after their pets.
According to recent figures, dog mess is a bigger problem in the UK than we perhaps realise. There are roughly eight million dogs living in this country, and between them they manage to generate one million metric tonnes of dog mess every year. If you need to imagine the size of the potential problem, you could easily cover the pitch at Wembley Stadium 1,300 times.
As part of the scheme to inform dog owners of the problem and to get them to clean up after their dogs, a survey was conducted by Keep Britain Tidy. The survey showed that four in five dog owners for example were not aware that dog mess can be disposed of in a regular bin, rather than just the special bins provided for dog mess.
Phil Barton, the chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, spoke about the issue of dog fouling:
“Dog fouling is the most offensive type of litter on our streets and is constantly rated as one of the most important issues blighting their local area by the public.”
85 councils in England and Wales have teamed up to combat dog fouling, and Calderdale Council is one of them. Together with other councils in West Yorkshire, Calderdale Council is heavily promoting the message of cleaning up after your dog. As part of the scheme, dog wardens will be dispatched onto the streets armed with poop scoops and waste bags in order to clean up the mess. The hope is that as much as 25% of all dog mess on the streets can be reduced.
Barry Collins, a councillor with Calderdale Council, commented on the problem saying:
“The council received almost 5,000 complaints regarding dog fouling in the last financial year.”
“We recognise that it is a really important issue for Calderdale residents and we hope that this campaign will bring about some real changes.”