Do bag it and bin it
Everyone knows how unpleasant it is trying to clean dog mess off shoes and that dodging dog mess can ruin a lovely day out, but there are many other reasons why it's really important to pick up after your dog.
- Dog mess can cause a range of illnesses and diseases that affect other dogs, grazing animals and people, even when it's no longer visible. All of these are unpleasant and some, though rare, are extremely serious, and can for example lead to blindness in people, or deaths or loss of unborn young in other dogs or animals.
- Dog mess gets on pushchair or wheelchair wheels as well as wellies, boots and shoes. Wendy uses a wheelchair and told us "People need to understand, and I'm sure many do, if a wheelchair gets peed on or rolled through carelessly left dog poo, that is going to get into the disabled persons home, they can't just leave it at the door like a pair of wellies".
- Dog waste increases nutrients in the soil, allowing more common plants to invade, displacing rarer plants and wildlife that make heaths and downlands so special.
- Other types of waste, such as cow dung or horse or sheep droppings, do not carry the same health risks. They also do not have the same effects on rare habitats - animals used for conservation grazing are taking in food from the same environment they are depositing their poop, unlike our dogs.
- Some woodlands can quickly 'digest' dog waste so if you're somewhere that suggests 'stick & flick' do that - but only where stick & flick is advertised, as in many places there is still the problem of disease or parasite transmission to people or other animals.
- Some people train their dogs to go in their yard or garden before they set off for a walk, so they can clean it up and put it straight in the dustbin.
- In most places, bagged dog waste can go in normal litter bins.
- 'Bag it AND bin it'... not 'bag it and hang it in a bush'. This is really important and a huge problem - plastic bags of poop are a real hazard for wildlife and grazing animals (who may try to eat & then choke on the bags), as well as spoiling otherwise beautiful areas.
- If there's one thing more than anything else that makes dogs and dog owners unwelcome - it's poop. Beat the ban, bag the poop.
It's not embarrassing to pick it up. It's embarrassing not to.