As a dog and cat owner I can recognise the irony between people’s attitudes to poo and its disposal.
Although we may be slaves to our cats, many of us are happy to let them poop in other people’s gardens – regardless of whether the people like it. Yet with our dogs we are required to clean up after them by law.
With the recent news that Northamptonshire council plans to fine dog walkers for not carrying poo bags, it begs the question: what should we do once we’ve bagged the poo?
I’m very conservative. I gamely carry that poo-filled bag for the whole walk and return it to my own bin, unless I’m in the park and can use one of the bins provided.
My husband is a bit more cavalier and sees nothing wrong in using a bin outside someone’s house, albeit very discreetly. He also utilises a builder’s skip if one is around.
I walk the dog at a safe distance from him so no one can connect us with these “crimes” – in fact, I’ve even turned the location finder off on my iPad as I type this (you can’t be too careful).
Bag it and…
So, if we’re being good citizens by carrying and using poo bags, where does that stop? Well, it seems many people have forgotten the 80s “pooper scoopers” that launched poo bags in the UK. The point was to bag your poo and get rid of it, yet walking around the streets and in local parks it would appear many people are only committing to 50% of the act.
Just bagging poo and leaving it where the poop happened is not helping anyone, especially the good name of dog walkers. If it puts me off walking in places, it must put non-dog owners off even more. No wants to see a tree with filled poo bags hanging from it – it’s not funny and it really smells.
If you can pick up a poo to put it in a bag surely you can carry it for a short while to to dispose of it safely and in an environmentally friendly way? You don’t need to swing it above your head.
You do need to be careful about waving to people, though. With the dog lead in one hand and dog poo in the other my neighbours often get a wave of a hand containing a full poo bag. However I’m sure they prefer this to a poo left on the pavement, either in a bag or not.
Does your practice offer poo bags to dog owners for when they leave the practice? It’s a simple way to promote responsible ownership and we all know dogs love to poop on the way home from the vets.
Could you carry out a survey about where there is a lack of bins on popular dog walks? Although I carry the poo, it’s not the best bit about a walk and if there were more bins I would gladly use them.
Local authorities tend to respond well to group action, especially if it is supported by local businesses – and it could also be a good advertising opportunity. Get the local press involved. Be part of the solution to where the poo goes.