Police call for help in detecting those responsible for mess

IT SEEMS there is just no getting away from dogs’ dirt, writes Janet Thomson.

Whilst steps are being taken in Forfar to highlight the anti-social effects irresponsible dog owners are having in the town (see story above), in Kirriemuir Tayside Police’s community liaison officer Constable Alan Bell has put together a flyer which he is about to distribute throughout the town.

He has been spurred on by the on-going problem of dogs’ mess in and around the town, and at the popular beauty stop at Kirrie Hill.

Constable Bell told the Dispatch and Herald: “I am intending to create this as a flyer with the intention of putting it through the letter boxes of the worst areas in a hope to have the public help us detect those responsible.

“I am a dog owner myself and am getting more and more frustrated at this blight on our streets.

“However, more and more people are taking it upon themselves to pick up ‘orphaned’ dog mess.

“These people are true ambassadors. You can set a good example, too. If you see orphaned dog mess, pick it up with one of those extra bags you’re carrying. Your actions will encourage others to do the same, and soon this will be a non-issue, because everybody will simply pick up without giving it a second thought. Keep the streets and playparks of Kirriemuir clean
Dog mess destroys the good reputation of responsible dog owners.

“If you want to help keep the streets of Kirriemuir free from dog mess, help us by telling us who the culprits are. We will visit them and advise them accordingly. Persistent offenders will be fined.

“All calls will be treated confidentially and any information can be left on the Community Office answer service on 01575 576625. Together we can make a difference.”

Constable Bell has compiled a list of 10 points which he hopes will help make a difference in Kirriemuir.

They are as follows:-

1, It’s the law. Just like littering, it’s unlawful not to pick up after your dog - if you don’t, you could be fined.

2, It’s common courtesy. Cleaning up after your dog shows respect for your neighbour and community. Only irresponsible dog owners leave their dog’s mess for other people to look at, step in or clean up.

3, Dog mess is unhealthy. Abandoned dog mess can host diseases and/or parasites which can infect other dogs that come into contact with it. It can also be transmitted to people who accidentally step in it and track it home. Particularly at risk, of course, are children who play on the ground. Disposing of dog mess immediately helps all dogs stay healthier and reduces faeces-borne parasites and illnesses. 
4, Dog mess biodegrades slowly. Some people think it’s fine to leave dog mess because it will break down naturally. However, the biodegrading process is very slow, and, especially in places where the dog population is high, abandoned dog mess can accumulate faster than it breaks down. In cold weather, dog mess freezes and, because it’s then almost impossible to clean up, it will remain where you left it for several weeks to several months.

5, It’s not fertiliser. In fact, dog mess impedes landscaping efforts - leaving it there encourages other dogs to mark that spot (by urinating over the previous dog’s scent). Dog mess left on the grass contributes to the problem of ‘nitrogen burn’.

6, Dog mess pollutes the water. Dog mess, like any faeces, contains high levels of nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, which actually pollute the water supply. Cleaning up after your dog is environmentally responsible. Please do not dispose of dog mess into drains.   

7, Dog mess is unsightly. Everybody knows that. It’s disgusting. Pick it up. We all deserve to live in a clean environment where we can be proud and walk along without worrying what we might step into.

8, Dog mess is amongst the top complaints about dogs. Most complaints about dogs involve people not cleaning up after their dogs. There are more complaints about dog mess than dog aggression, nuisance barking and unsupervised dogs.

9, Dog mess makes owners look bad. One of the worst things about dog mess is that it’s bad for public relations. Dog mess is the number one reason for negative public sentiment against dogs. Every time you don’t pick up after your dog, you are giving one more reason for others to dislike dogs and dog owners.   

10, Your actions set an example for others. When you pick up after your dog, you are part of the solution. Your actions will help convey the message that it’s the right thing to do. Many people even carry extra bags to offer to others as a subtle and neighbourly hint that cleaning up after our dogs is what responsible dog owners do.