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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 19-Feb-15 15:34:17

Dog poo wars

Villem Saks contemplates the humble dog poo. Is it as much of a problem as it seems? Or are village dog poo <fanatics> prowlers fixing their beady eyes on the wrong problem? Villem considers...

Villem Saks

Dog poo wars

Posted on: Thu 19-Feb-15 15:34:17


Lead photo

Villem's late canine companion, Rocky.

Poor old dogs, they get a bum deal. Horses produce manure and cats do their business, yet dogs 'foul' or produce 'mess'. Granted, getting the stuff on your shoes and walking it across a clean carpet isn’t fun, but that’s about as bad as it gets.

So why does it divide communities and why do some of us recoil in horror at the stuff? Let's start by choosing the right word for it. I'm sticking with turd. Sure it's a little coarse but it has impeccable heritage in that it comes from the Old Norse tordyfill meaning dung beetle. I reckon humans are repelled by dog turds because deep down, psychologically, they remind us of our own. There's no research to quote but maybe it's an evolutionary thing which maintains our perceived superiority over lesser mammals. The notion that our waste products look and often smell the same as dogs is an affront and might be upsetting for many people.
There is the big issue of kids going blind from Toxocariasis which is caused by roundworms in dog turds. If children eat them then there could be a risk of infection. However, according to the NHS there have only been 30 cases in England and Wales between 2000 and 2010. Cases that involve blindness are rare.

In many villages and towns there are ongoing crusades to wipe out dog turds from public places with the use of ruthless highly-trained Council Response Against Poo operatives who will stalk and fine anyone seen committing a turd offence.

Recent anti dog turd signage also blames domestic dogs as a major cause of the apocalyptic sounding Neosporosis which causes cattle to abort. However, according to many vets the science is not conclusive. Some maintain that it is mainly farm dogs which carry the cysts that infect cattle. And yet these diseases are touted as major health risks. In many villages and towns there are ongoing crusades to wipe out dog turds from public places with the use of ruthless highly-trained Council Response Against Poo operatives who will stalk and fine anyone seen committing a turd offence. They will liaise with curtain-twitching residents who, on orders from many local parish and town councils, will be expected to report their neighbours giving a description of the poor mutt and details of the errant deposition.

There is some rationale for implementing a program of information and enforcement in urban areas but is it a problem in the village environment? There's no doubt there are those who let their dogs deposit anywhere including the weird people who pick up nicely in a plastic bag and then toss it into a hedge where it hangs forlornly; presumably waiting for the Dog Turd Collection team from the local authority.

It’s really a matter of common sense. Pick up where it is plainly apparent that someone could step in it. Bagging a turd on a wind-swept hill or farmer's field seems like overkill. An agile flick of the boot which sends the offending lump into a hedge or stream is not going to cause an outbreak of bubonic plague.

The maximum fixed penalty for failing to pick up a dog turd is £1,000. In the UK each year about 2,400 children are killed or seriously injured on the road. Many of these accidents are caused by excessive speed. The maximum fine for speeding is also £1,000. There are speed gun patrols in some villages but when it comes to installing bumps or flashing signs, the Parish council bleats on about the cost and how it will impinge upon character of the village. Dog turds, it seems, are more of a problem.

Villem Saks is the author of How to survive the English Village: a guide for retirees, returning expats and folk not from these parts, available from Amazon.

By Villem Saks

Twitter: @Gransnet

Anya Sat 28-Mar-15 18:13:28

Those are auras Jen you can tell from the colour what the person or animal is feeling. It sounded pretty browned off to me. But I have to leave the discussion now as I'm going out tonight on the brown town.

durhamjen Sat 28-Mar-15 19:05:31

That's okay. All the gulls will have gone to roost now anyway. It will be hard to tell what colour their heads are.

Spidergran Fri 17-Apr-15 11:34:33

We have a lovely path near where we live created from an ex-train track, its is known locally as Dog Sh-- Alley and is avoided by walkers and cyclists for obvious reasons.
I have just been to a lovely park with the grandchildren that has a giant tree near the entrance. A very old beautiful tree jst showing the first signs of spring with its budding leaves ready to offer shelter from the blazing sun (I believe in living in hope smile or more likely protection from the sudden downpowers of freezing rain...and there nestled in a large hole in the trunk 20 bags of DOG POO!!!! WHAT THE HELL??? And lets just add to this a dog poo bin 2 feet away. I search dog walkers faces as they walk past trying to identify a person who would find this an acceptable behaviour. And they all smile and nodd friendly to me. Is it someones secret vice they cannot control?? I don't know but it is sad, so sad and not very good for my blood pressure as I watch and wait for the culprit so I can run and stuff the damn bags up their coat!! smile

TriciaF Fri 17-Apr-15 12:06:53

Thank goodness we don't live in a town any more! We never had a dog in town so didn't have this problem.
Just one point (I don't think anyone has mentioned this), if you feed your dog raw their poos are much firmer, more like sheep droppings and easier to dispose of. They don't smell so bad as those sloppy ones, and also good for the dog as it helps to avoid anal gland problems.
There might be exceptions, but heard this from a vet.
They're called crottes here.

hauraki54 Sun 19-Apr-15 11:39:56

When my children were young we had 4 Guide Dog puppies in succession and then a golden retriever of our own. Guide Dogs are trained to do their business when and where they are told. Even my own dog was so trained. I didnt want poo all over the garden for a start. I trained all of them to use a particular place so that I could easily pick up the solids, put it down the manhole and disinfect the area. You never see a blind person allowing their dog to poo or pee all over the place. Poo bags festooned in trees is disgusting, other litter is bad enough. Why expect other people to clean up after you? My children used to hand me the smallest pieces of their rubbish to take home.

amarmai Sun 19-Apr-15 18:14:50

A local church , situated on a hill with a road running around the base has a huge dog dirt problem. The church members found that posting the usual bylaw notices re no off leash and pick up dog dirt were ignored. So they spent the money to put up polite pleas to do this all around the circumference of their land. There are also 2 schools on the property whose children need to use the grassy areas. The type of person who ignores all of this and continues to befoul private property used by children is beyond my comprehension. Any insights into this mentality to help me understand will be welcome.

Parcs Sun 19-Apr-15 18:24:57

amarmai A camera fitted to catch the culprits would be the most effective action--A notice informing of possible prosecution

And MOST importantly educating the culprits (perhaps a sign of some sort)..that dog poo can cause blindness in children

Good luck

Parcs Sun 19-Apr-15 18:25:39

PS CCTV Cameras are not expensive.

amarmai Sun 19-Apr-15 20:26:59

Thank you for the suggestions , Parcs. I will pass them on.

ojeezus Sun 03-May-15 19:30:19

Parcs, if you read the blog you may want to question this urban myth that 'dog poo can cause blindness in children'. It can, I guess, in the same way any of us can get struck by lightning ie. statistically insignificant.

Medicationresearcher Fri 15-May-15 15:37:31

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