Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Mixed Messages on Dog Fouling, this is why we think they are a bad idea.

Some time ago while wandering through Forestry Commission managed land in England I came across a sign saying if your dog poos on a path, just flick it in a bush. This made me instantly think of all the hard work we do as volunteers as well as with pupils from Henllys Church in Wales and the cubs and beavers from 1st Henllys Scouts in bushes and around trees on Henllys Local Nature Reserve. Last year, when we were planting cowslip, primroses and snakes head fritillary plugs and bulbs for part of our #NaturalBuzz project, a Year 2 pupil put his hand into some fresh dog poo which was under some leaves.
Luckily he was wearing gloves, and aside from how gross it was, if he put it anywhere near his eyes, it could have been extremely dangerous.

We are a little worried that there is now a call from an MP from St. Albans to make this flicking of poo acceptable. The article can be read here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39254072.

While we applaud Anne for raising the issue and abhor dog poo bags hanging from trees as much as her (feel free to  read our twitter feed), we feel mixed messages on dog fouling do not work as irresponsible dog owners will use them as excuses to get away with not doing anything "There were leaves on the cack" or maybe "I did flick it, but it must have rolled back". Not picking up after your dog is an offence, which is rarely enforced, as is littering. Are we going to say that if you do litter, flick it into a bush and it'll be OK? This could easily be a glass bottle which poses a health risk especially if smashed. What about drug taking, could "flick your used syringe needles under some leaves" also be acceptable? There are other people who also work in these bushes e.g. the local Ranger and his volunteers. It is also a health hazard for them. When tackling Himalayan balsam late on last summer, I narrowly missed brushcutting through 2 dog poo bags, but Thom Board from Keep Wales Tidy was not so lucky "fling it here, fling it there". We are acutely aware that the health risks associated with flung dog poo bags are worse than flicked poo, but you don't know when we would be doing this work, so why take the risk?

There has to be a responsibility from dog owners to pick up after your dog. It would only take one serious incident on our Local Nature Reserve and the 1000 volunteer hours we do each year across the 7 hectares of land we look after could stop. If you have got this far in this article, you may tell that we also disagree with the Forestry Commission's stance on this matter. Maybe they should flick some dog poo under their own desks and see how acceptable they find this.

We think a #bagitbinit approach has to be the only acceptable method of dealing with dog poo and policy and direction needs to be clear from the top down as it already is from our side.

No comments:

Post a Comment