Dog fouling remains a sticky issue

Clean it upAt Surrey Heath’s Community Services Scrutiny Committee meeting last week, members were given an update to the Borough’s dog fouling campaign, which runs from July to December 2012.

The issue of dog fouling was raised by Cllr Paul Deach at a scrutiny meeting earlier this year. It was his passionate arguing that action was needed, which began the council’s campaign, entitled ‘There is no such thing as the Dog Poo Fairy’. I’d have preferred something more crisp, like ‘Scoop the poop’. But, hey, anything that reduces irresponsible dog fouling is a good thing.

Cllr Deach interviewed the Council’s portfolio holder – Cllr Vivienne Chapman – about the campaign, for the Residents Network HERE.

I’m a regular walker on the heathland near Lightwater, such as Turf Hill, Brentmoor Heath, and the paths around the Bisley & Pirbright ranges. These walks are often spoiled by selfish dog owners who’ve not scooped their dog’s poop. Worst of all is the dog mess which has been collected into a plastic bag, and then thrown carelessly into the pathside trees, to be left hanging there.

Dog fouling is a key topic for Keep Britain Tidy, with whom Surrey Heath partnered for their local campaign. The statistics around dog fouling can be surprising. The Metropolitan Borough of Tameside in Greater Manchester say they collect around 12 tons of dog excrement a day.

We don’t have the number of dogs as does Tameside, whose population is 214,000. At around a third their size, that suggests we have around 4 tons of dog excrement a day. Quite a number. I’ll ask our Council what volume they collect daily.

There are many responsible dog owners in our borough. There are many who are not. Were I a dog owner, which I’m not, I’d carry a pooper scooper with me while walking the dog. In fact I’d get myself a super-duper pooper scooper. How interesting that some councils [although doesn’t say which] require dog owners to carry a pooper scooper when walking a dog in a public space. Other councils have invested in super-dooper machines to collect dog mess.

As with all issues, education is big part of any solution. It is here too.

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