I can’t see the dog poo for all this litter

You may want to finish what you are eating before you read any further as I’m about to put my foot in it, so to speak.
The ‘it’ is a subject which continues to exercise council officials and Sentinel letter writers alike.
Yes, I’m talking poo. Not for the first time, I hear you cry.
This time, however, I’m referring to dog mess or – more specifically – how we deal with owners who don’t clean up after their pets.
I read now that villagers are being urged to appoint their own dog warden as part of a new crackdown on fouling.
Parish and town councils are being asked to designate someone to take on the job of enforcing new powers, which are poised to be formally adopted by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
I’d rather them than me, frankly. Big Society or no Big Society, confronting some skin-head and his Staffie Bull Terrier at a park sounds like a recipe for civil disorder to me.
You see, it’s all right for cat owners. Tiddles just pops next door, does his thing, buries it under your borders and scoots off before anyone is any the wiser.
Cat-lovers will have you believe their pets are somehow enigmatic or superior because they don’t need to be taken for walks on a lead.
Whatever. I’m just glad I’m a decent shot with a water pistol from my kitchen window.
Don’t get me wrong, even as a certified dog-lover I’d be the first to admit that coming across dog mess while you’re out and about is bad enough – let alone having the misfortune to stand in the stuff.
Having carried my own shoe-less little ’un three quarters of a mile back to our car when she got her footwear soiled, I know full well what a pain in the backside irresponsible owners really are.
The problem is that not every dog owner is embarrassed as easily as me.
There are those who simply let their animals roam free or deliberately take them for a walk at night-time when no-one can see what Tyson is up to. You know who you are…
Granted, standing waiting for your pooch to do his or her business is no fun.
Other than allowing you to temporarily warm your hands on a cold winter’s morning, I can see no redeeming features in a chore which leaves you feeling more than a tad self-conscious.
I swear every curtain in our street twitches and cars slow down to observe me as I do what is necessary when taking our puppy Starbuck for a walk.
Still, I’ve nothing to be ashamed of, as I always clean up his mess and I’m sick and tired of a minority of selfish owners making the rest of us feel like criminals. In fact, just for once, I’d ask you to spare a thought for dog owners everywhere who have to run a gauntlet of grime every day when out exercising their beloved pets.
Fag packets, half-eaten pastries and sandwiches, chocolate wrappers, chewing gum, plastic pop bottles, crisp packets, dirty handkerchiefs and much, much worse have been among the litter which I’ve negotiated in recent months.
All of which, of course, Starbuck thinks is his to play with and/or eat. (he’s only six months old, after all).
Cleaning up after him is the least of my worries as I spend half the walk fishing stuff out of his mouth and dragging him away from grass verges. Litter is not a new problem, I know, but it makes my blood boil and I would suggest that despite constant publicity campaigns it remains a far worse nuisance than dog fouling.
If I had my way, I’d have these enforcement officers follow litter-bugs home and tip a black bag full of rubbish in their front rooms to see how they like it.
In the final analysis, there is no such thing as a bad dog. They learn bad habits from us.
At least you know that when a dog drops something unpleasant in the street it is done out of necessity – not bone-idleness.

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