To the people who don’t pick up their dog’s poo

Family life

Does this photo offend you? Because it blinking well offended me when my 14 month old made a grab for it while in the park today.

people who don't pick up their dog poo

Luckily I was keeping a close eye on him as always, and noticed where his hands were headed before he could pick it up. But it made me so mad. How, in this day and age, can people think it’s okay not to pick up after their dogs when they poo in public?

Now I know the majority of dog owners are kind, responsible and conscientious people who would be as mortified as me that another dog owner could allow this to happen. And, if you happen to be such a dog owner, then please know that I do not tar you with the same brush.

I have nothing but admiration for you wonderful dog owners with your doggy poop bags, dutifully picking up your doggy’s deposits in all weathers, carrying them around with you until you find a bin that allows dog poop, or even taking it home to bin it there. And I am thankful that you care about the environment around you as much as I do. I am glad that you have taken steps so that my children won’t accidentally run through a pile of your dog’s crap in their summer sandals and then try to wipe it off with their hands. I am glad that there’s no chance I will accidentally wheel my baby’s buggy or trike through that mucky pile of poop. I’m glad that there is no chance my toddler will fall over and land in it, or try to pick it up.

Dog poo doesn’t just look horrible, and it isn’t just messy and a pain to clean up. It’s dangerous. Every gram of dog poo contains 23 million bacteria, many of which can be passed on to humans – including campylobacteriosus, salmonellosis, toxocarisis (roundworms), coccidian, cysticerosis (tapeworms), E.coli, giardia and pario. The symptoms for many of these include fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration. As dog poo disintegrates, it also pollutes fresh water supplies, meaning it can affect the eco-system and could even end up in our drinking water. In fact, according to one source, dog poo is the number three cause of water pollution.

This isn’t new information. We’ve known this stuff for decades. So why is it, that almost every time we are out in our local parks, beaches and even when walking on pavements in our neighbourhood and outside my children’s school, I see dog poo? Why is it so difficult for some people to clean up after their pets? Why do some people think it’s okay to leave their dog’s excrement in the middle of a pathway, or next to a children’s playground, or in a field that is popular for picnickers and children playing?

I understand that sometimes a dog will run off and the owner won’t be able to see where the dog has done its business. I’ve seen frustrated owners frantically looking around hedgerows desperately wanting to clean up after their dog but unable to find what they are looking for. I’ve even seen angry dog owners picking up dog poo that doesn’t belong to their pet. Very commendable of them – but they really shouldn’t have to be doing this.

I also know that foxes and other wild animals poo in public – and what a nightmare it can be for dog owners when their pets roll in the stuff. I even panicked about publishing this photo in case it was the deposits of some animal and loads of angry dog owners attacked me, as I’ve previously been verbally attacked for expressing strong opinions on my blog. But the fact is, dog poo is a persistent problem in our outdoor spaces. We spend a lot of time in our local parks, and I am constantly on poo watch, as it’s everywhere. But – unlike the droppings of foxes and wild animals – this is a problem we can do something about.

I try to teach my children that parks are for everyone. They know to slow down or stop if they are running or cycling and other people are coming in their direction. I teach them to move their playing away from child-free people relaxing in the sun, explaining they are probably hoping for peace and quiet. They know to put litter in the bin, or to take it home with us. They know not to walk on grass that has big warning signs on it, or to pick flowers other than daisies, dandelions and the like. I do my best to teach them about harmonious living and being considerate to those around us. And then we keep coming across dog crap in the park, and it makes me sad that not everyone shares the same values.

dog poo sign

It’s not just me who has a problem with dog poo. In fact, it is illegal not to pick up after your dog. You can be given an on-the-spot fine of between £50 and £80, depending on where you live. If you don’t pay, you can be taken to court and fined up to £1,000.

Some councils are so frustrated by the problem, they are going even further. Daventry District Council in Northamptonshire is to become the first area in the country to issue dog owners with a £100 on-the-spot fine if they don’t have any bags with them to clear up their dog’s poo.

I’m glad to see them taking action, but I find it thoroughly depressing that I live in a society where dog poo is such a problem that this is even necessary.

I would genuinely love to know what their excuse is. I am actually curious as to why they think it is okay not to clean up after their pets.

And as for whoever left that poo in Bute Park this week – it’s now in a bin after I wrapped a nappy bag around my hand, picked it up and disposed of it. Maybe next time, you can do this yourself?

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13 Comments to To the people who don’t pick up their dog’s poo

  1. God, I hate this! Drives me nuts. My husband has actually chased people down the street in the past waving a plastic bag at them. Good for you for picking it up though (not that you should have had to in the first place!)

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Yes, exactly! It’s not exactly a surprise that owning a pet means picking up poo. As you say, if you’re not prepared to do that, then don’t get a dog in the first place!

  2. This makes all pet owners look bad – in the winter it’s even worse because people seem to think the snow hides it. Then in spring when the snow melts there is poo everywhere. Disgusting.

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Oh, poo under snow is just awful! It happened to us while building a snowman once. Horrible!

  3. Great post, this really annoys me too. If I had issues picking up poo then I wouldn’t get a dog because it is part of being a dog owner!
    We don’t have a front garden and I have opened my door before to dog poo on the pavement right outside, it is bad enough in parks but on people’s doorsteps is just disgusting.
    Some people just have no respect for others and that is the problem.
    Another thing I see a lot of is bags of dog poo dumped, now I can see why people don’t want to carry poo for miles when there is a lack of bins because the Council are too strapped to pay people to maintain them but come on, just take it home and dispose of it!

    Leanne – A Slice of My Life Wales

  4. My street is littered with dog poo, it makes me so cross! There are fines up saying people will be fined but I don’t know how they can enforce it as we never see the culprits in action.

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Yes, that’s exactly the problem. They need people to better enforce it, because the fines are all very well, but if there are not people patrolling the streets, then how are they ever going to see them?

  5. I think it is disgusting that people cannot clean uop after their pet. It’s terrible that people can ruin these public places instead of simply cleaning up. I am always worried when out with Nancy that she will walk in some dog mess in grass or in a park, or worse pick iy up, it shouldnt be that way. I am not sure fines are the right way to go but something has to be done to stop it happening x

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      I don’t know what the answer is as the fines don’t seem to be working very well so far. It’s horrible thinking of children coming across it in the park. I am constantly on poo watch when we are out and about. So gross.

  6. As a dog owner I just wanted to say that I HATE it when people don’t pick up after their dogs! I mean, who wants to step in poo?! And regardless of the fact that I pick up at least 4 a day, I DO NOT want to have to clean it off the bottom of my kids shoes – or worse. I totally agree with you. If you want a dog, you have to pick up poo. You also have to sometimes clean it off them because they’ve rolled in it (fox, deer, bird – you name it). Some dogs even eat the stuff. So really, if you’ve any aversion to poo, don’t get a dog. Our council used to provide dog poo bags for free but still our river walk (which is on the way to school) is littered with poo. As are all the paths to both schools in the town.

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      That’s so sad the poo is everywhere. You are completely right though, if people have an aversion to poo, they really shouldn’t be getting a dog in the first place.

  7. Martin Bates

    Make me so angry..
    We live by a beautiful grass area and beach, which seems to be completely taken over with dog walkers…These areas are for everyone to enjoy, without the risk of stepping in dog mess…
    Almost every time the kids play out there someone comes home with dogs mess on their shoes, with these probabilities it can’t just be the odd one who’s not cleaning up.
    Why should I be cleaning up after someone else’s dog, I don’t own one.
    It’s filthy, anti social and dangerous, and most of the dog walkers around here are self righteous and so sanctimonious…sorry to rant…but just spent half an hour of my Christmas Day cleaning dog crap off my three year olds brand new boots….

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