Trail of dogs’ mess left in play park

IRRESPONSIBLE dog owners have stooped to a new low in Kirriemuir - by failing to pick up their dogs’ mess in the new Neverland playpark on Kirrie hill.

Local police officers are now appealing to dog owners throughout the town to spare a thought for the health implications their actions are having on the town’s younger generation.

They explained that, in recent months, there have been problems of dog fouling in the new play park but, unfortunately, no culprits identified.

In a statement they continued: “It is shocking to think there are persons in the community who think it is acceptable to allow their dog to do this in an area where young children play.

“There have also been occasions where dogs freely run around peeing on the equipment. Dogs urinating in a public place is not an offence; however this is unacceptable given the purpose of the park.

“The play park is solely for the use and pleasure of children and young people and their friends and families.

“There have been occasions where person/s who go to the trouble of picking up the mess with a dog bag and thereafter leaving the dog bag and its contents lying in the street, hanging on trees etc. throughout Kirriemuir. This is littering.”

The local officers explained dog fouling is an issue in Kirriemuir as much as other areas of Angus and warned of the health implications associated with dogs’ mess.

They continued: “Dog fouling is not only unpleasant it is dangerous. The biggest threat to public health from dog excrement is toxocariasis.”

Toxocariasis is an infection of the roundworm toxocara canis. The eggs of the parasite can be found in soil or sand contaminated with faeces and, if swallowed, result in infection that lasts between six and 24 months.

Symptoms include eye disorders, vague ache, dizziness, nausea, asthma and, in extremely rare cases, seizures/fits. Often the eggs are ingested when passed to the mouth by the hands, but this can also occur through contact with dogs or other inanimate objects including the wheels of toys and the soles of shoes.

Infected soil samples are often found in play areas and as a result, Toxocariasis most commonly affects children between 18 months and five years.

The officers continued: “It is an offence for any person in charge of a dog to allow the dog to defecate in a public place and thereafter fails immediately to remove the faeces.

“The penalty for dog fouling can be up to £1,000.

“A person in charge of the dog who is unaware of the defecation or not having a device for or other suitable means of removing the faeces, cannot use this as an excuse/defence for failing to remove the faeces.

“A person can be issued with a Fixed Notice on the evidence of one witness.

“In terms of a public place this includes any place, open to the air, which the public, or section of the public have access, whether paid access or otherwise, as a right or by expressed or implied permission.

“It also includes common passage ways, close, court, stair, back green, garden, yard or similar common area.

“If you have information with regards dog fouling please either contact your local police officer, local council, community wardens or dog wardens.

“Dog fouling is a community issue and where agencies tries to tackle the issue help is needed from the community in identifying those responsible.”

Meanwhile, users of the popular Northmuir Hall have been left disappointed at the antics of one local dog walker (see letter page on page 26).

Jim Smith, chairman of the Northmuir Hall Committee, has called on Angus Council to have dog bins erected in Kate’s Wood after the dog walker attempted to dispose of a dog poo bag in the hall’s bin.

He said the number of dog walkers using Kate’s Wood has “increased enormously” in recent years, adding it was unfair on the responsible owners that there should be no disposal facilities.