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Dog Poo

Yes, you are reading the title correctly. This article is about Dog Poo. Don’t worry, it is not about the nitty gritty of exactly what bacteria and other revolting stuff might be contained within it. My daughter has a set of playing cards called “Plop trumps” and these feature a description and scoring system for different aspects of the droppings of many different animals. In this set of cards, Dog Poo rates as Smelliness Factor 9.5 out of 10 and Yuk Factor 10 out of 10. And that is as much detail about the substance itself that I think is needed.

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Years ago no-one gave dog poo a second thought. Dog owners were free to take their dogs for walks wherever and whenever they saw fit, and there were no rules and regulations concerning the deposits that the animals might make. Occasionally you might come across a sample of the offending material while walking down the street (this still happens today of course) and if you did you simply stepped around it. But in truth there was never really much of a problem in this regard. Responsible dog owners have always ensured that the dog delivers the excrement to a suitable location.

But in recent years, councils across the land have decided that dog poo is an evil substance. I am talking about the U.K here, but no doubt the same also applies elsewhere. As a consequence of this, not only are there restrictions on where you can walk your dog, the ultimate indignity is that you are expected to scoop up the doggie doings in a small polythene bag to be disposed of later. There are several things about this that irritate me greatly.

The first point of irritation is the obvious one of being required to do this. As I have mentioned, dog poo rates Yuk Factor 10. Picking it up is not a pleasant experience, and there is always the potential for getting it on your hands. Then you are expected to complete your walk with a little parcel of material of Smelliness Factor 9.5 in your pocket. Terrific!

The second annoyance is that the regulation is specifically targeted at dogs. All other animals are exempt. I am consulting the Plop Trumps now. For some reason cat poo is not featured (or maybe this card has been lost), but the nearest animals would I suppose be fox - smelliness 10, yuk factor 10 – or tiger – smelliness 10, yuk factor 9. Cat owners can let their animals roam wherever they want, and unlike with dogs, this can, and usually does, include the neighbour’s gardens. But no action is required in regard to their deposits. Oh no, cat poo is fine, it is dog poo that is the evil substance. Also on the subject of cats, I wish I had a pack of Wee Trumps because cat urine really stinks. I am going to award it Smelliness factor 20.

In this country, I am legally entitled to ride my horse along the public highway (assuming I had one). If the animal decides to drop an enormous steaming turd (Smelliness factor 6, Yuk factor 4) on the road, or even the pavement, I would be under no obligation whatsoever to do anything about it. Horse faeces are apparently a permitted substance within the council regulations.

However, the thing that irritates me by far the most about this council policy is that it seems to have brain-washed the general public, both dog owners and non-dog owners alike, into thinking that it is a good idea.

I do not in fact own a dog myself, but my mother does, and so on visits I often take Holly the black labrador out for walk. There is a particular place where we often go, which is a field on the far side of the sand dunes . It is also one of the council’s “Dog Control Zones” 1). The field in question is inhabited by a large population of wild rabbits (Smelliness 3, Yuk factor 1), and is also used by the local farmer for grazing sheep (Smelliness 3, Yuk factor 2), and occasionally cattle (Smelliness 6, Yuk factor 5). At the far end of the field are often to be found a number of geese (Smelliness 4, Yuk factor 5).

You can imagine the array of excrement that is to be found in all parts of this field. But since it is a “Dog Control Zone” I am expected to keep Holly on a lead (this doesn’t happen) and clean up any poo produced (this certainly does not happen). Sometimes other dog walkers (with their dogs on a lead) see the production of poop going on, and as we continue on our way leaving the deposit behind, they stare in shock at my outrageous level of civil disobedience. They deliver a look that suggests that I am public enemy number one. I am afraid that they have been thoroughly brain-washed into thinking that this is a sound council policy to which I should be adhering.

The restrictions on where you can take your dog are another irritation of this stupid council policy. The field I have been talking about above is located on the other side of a set of sand dunes from the beach. So the ideal walk is to along the beach in one direction, then to go across the sand dunes and return along the field. It makes a decent circular walk.

However, the council have got other ideas. Some parts of the beach you are not allowed to take your dog on at all, and other parts are out of bounds at certain times of year. In these areas of the beach, the requirement to clean up after your dog still applies.

Given these rules, what is the idea behind restricting access to certain times of year? It cannot be because of the dog turds because these are supposed to be removed by the owners. It cannot be out of any concern for the safety of the public, because this would apply at any time of year. So what exactly is the thinking here? It beats me.

I am thinking of getting myself a pet goat (Smelliness 5, Yuk factor 5) which I will delight in being able to take for a walk wherever I see fit. I may well try to arrange for it to do its business at the entrance to the council offices.

Meanwhile, I am off to take Holly for a walk. I won’t be taking the lead and the little polythene bags will be left at home.


Lifestyle


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