Think of toddlers and pick up your pooch's mess
AS a regular dog-walking resident of Sleaford I have had occasion to write a few letters to your newspaper on different matters but each time I have ended up mentioning dog fouling.
Despite the best efforts of the town council there are still complaints about dog mess and we all see it ourselves when we are out and about.
There are about 40 dog bins and 50 litter bins in Sleaford, all of which town council staff empty at least once a week.
There is a Dog Law Enforcement Officer who regularly patrols throughout the town and can be tasked to tackle the problem areas.
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The enforcement officer provides comprehensive reports, advises people when on patrol, has the authority to impose fines up to £1,000 and does the best to clear up mess if culprits are not about. It seems that grassed areas are less prone to dog fouling when the grass is short and so I am pleased that the council get the mowers out as often as they can, weather permitting.
I have seen people in Sleaford pick up other people's dogs' mess and I know that I am not alone in always walking the dog, fully stocked with spare bags.
The sad fact is that, despite all the above efforts, matters do not get any better and sometimes even worse.
We must never get so exasperated that we follow the example of the Italian island of Capri that planned to have dogs and their deposits matched by DNA testing and then fine the owners Euro 2,000.
Nor could or should we spend £134,000 like Islington Council did recently on 22 dog mess wardens for two months and only receive £2,000 in fines; and neither will we employ police sharpshooters to shoot dogs on sight as they sometimes do in another country I used to live in.
All we can do is our best to make it as easy and convenient as possible for people to clear up after their pets and to ask people to think of the impact their dogs' mess can have on shoes, toddlers' hands and the wheels of buggies and mobility scooters.
I have it on good authority that dog faeces, as long as they are properly bagged, may be deposited in an ordinary litter bin – this may help those who find it difficult to get to the nearest dog bin or do not wish to carry the bag home for disposal.
Furthermore, an intelligence-based policy towards dog fouling is starting to be employed in town, based on the information gathered from patrols and reports and from this it may be able to better tackle problem areas and re-deploy dog bins.
But deep down we probably all know that the problem will never go away completely.
Thank goodness the majority of dog owners in Sleaford are considerate people, but if you are one of those who is not concerned about the matter please, please think about children, toddlers and buggies every time you walk your dog anywhere near one of our excellent Sleaford schools.
Cleaning mess off children's shoes and pram wheels when you get home is the last thing you want to do before you get the tea on. I suspect some mums (and a few dads) will agree with me.