THERE ARE NO MESSY DOGS, only idiot owners. They’re so thick and thoughtless they win my ‘Imbeciles of the Year’ award, even beating the tossers who jettison their fast-food rubbish on the pretty Berwick -Etal road!
I didn’t think anyone could annoy me as much as the young men – I am pretty certain the culprits are male – who swallow gallons of energy drink but sadly can’t summon the strength to carry their empty bottles and cans to a refuse bin.
But no, even more teeth-gnashingly frustrating are the morons who bag up their dog’s poo and then leave the bag for the Magic Crap Fairy to remove. Can any Voice of the North reader with advanced qualifications in psychology please explain to me the workings of the minds of these people?
Picture the scene: Little Fido squats down and evacuates its bowels as Mother Nature requires. The proud owner bags up the pungent pile, carefully ties the handles together, places the plastic bag on the floor, fence or wall and wanders off.
WHY NOT CARRY THE PARCEL OF POO TO A PROPER DISPOSAL SITE? OR TAKE IT HOME?
I cannot accept that in hundreds of cases dog walkers intended to collect the bag on their way back but just forgot. My own theory, based, I must admit, on scanty forensic investigation, is that the primary culprits are owners of quite small dogs.
On my almost daily chore of picking up someone else’s polythene-wrapped mess, I have noted that in most cases the loads are light, suggesting that the waste matter was discharged by a little ‘un.
Perhaps the folk keep a tiny pooch as a child substitute. Maybe they regard their toy breed, quite literally, as a toy and do not wish to be reminded that Fluffykins squeezes out noxious substances at regular intervals.
What is particularly galling is that the bags of dog mess besmirch an area of natural beauty such as north Northumberland; my regular walks along the beaches and dunes south of Cocklawburn and the riverside walk at Etal seem particularly blighted by this distasteful plague.
Even worse, I am seeing ever more high-visibility poo bags of an unlovely fluorescent hue. Have these been designed primarily so I will spot them, get angry and carry them to the nearest receptacle?
My two whippets, Betsey and Billy, have a remarkable capacity to produce poo, with each following a ritual of three deposits per walk. My Etal neighbour, Sue, sells excellent large plastic bags on behalf of Guide Dogs for the Blind, so I must be funding a fair few Labradors each year with the amount of faecal matter with which my pair present me.
NOT picking up dog waste is an offence that carries a maximum fine of £1,000, imposed by Northumberland County Council. The NCC signs say so, all over Berwick. The image above was taken near the beach in Berwick earlier this month. So has anyone EVER been fined £1,000 or anything close to it?
I asked NCC for the number of miscreants prosecuted for NOT bagging up dog waste, indeed whether there had been ANY prosecutions for leaving bags of dog poo around? Getting an answer took almost a fortnight, but here is their reply (delayed by requiring ‘executive clearance’!):
“The fine for dog fouling is £100 (reduced to £80 if paid within 7 days). Over the past 12 months the Council have issued 23 fines against owners who failed to pick up after their dog had fouled.
“Furthermore, if a wrapped dog foul is discarded incorrectly, this will face a fixed penalty for littering of £80 (reduced to £65 if paid within 7 days). A person can also be prosecuted, in court, for a littering offence with a maximum fine of £2,500.”
Hmmm…this begs more questions than it answers. For instance, is the £100/£80 fine the minimum fine? Has anyone in the past 12 months been fined more than £100/£80?
Sadly, unless you the reader can help, these questions will remain un-asked: I can’t wait another fortnight for supplementary answers to be supplied and my blood is already boiling over the three bags of dogs crap left by idiot dog owners which I picked up on my Sunday walk along Cheswick Beach.
I can’t help thinking that the ultimate sanction would be to ban the miscreants like these from owning dogs. IF YOU CANNOT HANDLE THE POO, YOU CAN’T KEEP THE PETS!