page title icon POOGATE

Literally.  The picture says it all.

You can always rely on Love Lymm Locals (Facebook) for commentary and lively discussion on the real issues that are causing havoc within our community.  The debates and heated exchanges can be amusing to follow, but certain posts do highlight some very real problems that affect our lives and perhaps, do need a little more thought – and action.

In recent weeks, the touchpaper has been lit several times around the issues concerning careless dog owners, and – in particular, the plump packets of dog poo casually scattered around Spud Wood.

One recent post inspired me to consider this in more detail.  Unfortunately, it looks as if the post is no longer available or has since been removed, possibly because the comment feed became too toxic, just like the offending article itself.  It appears that some dog owners are easily offended…

In essence, the well-intentioned contributor had highlighted that plastic carrier bags had been strategically placed at the entrance gate to Spud Wood beyond Grantham’s Bridge – and another at the unofficially official entrance from Helsdale Wood.

Many thought this was a great idea.  Others were totally disgusted by the thought.  Others complained that the local council should be providing official bins.

My immediate thought was great idea – though I did have a slight concern that the bags would quickly fill and become a health hazard.  It does appear, however, that someone has taken ownership of this homemade solution and the bags are being replenished frequently.  Brilliant, thank you.

In the UK, Dog owners have a legal duty to clean up after their dogs – unless they are registered blind.  Most take this responsibility seriously; others are a little more half-hearted.  One or two obviously need an eye test.

I’ve met and given a cheery nod to many well-behaved dog owners over the last year.

By the same token, I’ve been excitedly mounted, urgently licked, slathered with drool, pawed and smeared with mud several times.  I woundn’t complain, but it was always by an out of control dog rather than by a good-looking companion!

In recent times, I’ve noticed a new breed of glaring dog owner, seeking acknowledgement and thanks as they struggle to clutch their snarling 10 stone beast as you walk past.  Well, thank you for not letting your darling dog from completely savaging me.

But I digress.  The real reason for this article is the unsavoury issue of dog waste – and what one should do with it.

According to the PDSA website, you should always carry a supply of bags and pick up after your dog.  Picking up your dog’s waste is a must as it can spread disease to people and animals.  In addition, the Countryside Code says you should always bin your litter – or take it home.

The message is clear.  Bag it and Bin it.  I never quite understand why some dog owners go to the trouble of bagging it, only then to casually dangle it from a nearby tree.

Think about this for a minute.  Just who is going to pick up that bag?  Will “somebody” eventually deal with it – or will it just be left to the elements until it eventually decomposes?  According to One Green Planet, it can take between ten and a thousand years for a bag of dog poo to decompose in landfill.  Presumably less if a biodegradable bag is used.

Admittedly, dog waste bins are far and few between, but this is where carrier bags come into their own.  Its simple really.  Just place the smouldering bag into a larger carrier bag and take it home with you – or find a suitable bin nearby.

For the record, there is a council-operated bin at the Spud Wood Car Park on Stage Lane and another at the entrance on Oughtrington Lane.  There are no bins within Spud Wood itself.

HOW ABOUT STICK AND FLICK?

The Forestry Commission & National Trust suggest that if you are not prepared to bag and take it home, you should use the “stick and flick” method. 

In essence, this means finding a sturdy stick so you can artfully flick the waste into the undergrowth.  Out of sight, out of mind.

It is a solution, but it’s not completely ideal.  Why?  Well, for starters according to the Doggysaurus website, it is estimated that it takes up to 9 weeks for the waste to fully decompose and break down. 

If you consider that just one sitting of dog poo (approx 30gr) can contain over 23 million organisms of bacteria (twice as much as human waste) it is potentially a risk to public health.    It also spoils the beauty of the countryside.

Oh.. We all know how hungry dogs can be too, sniffing out tasty treats when you are not watching.  Very tasty.

There’s the contaminated stick too.  It could be picked up by someone else, your child maybe.

So, in a way the large plastic bags that have appeared are probably a good thing, especially as someone has taken it upon themselves to remove and replenish on a regular basis.  Let’s hope this will lead to more owners making a conscious effort.

Do your bit for the environment and bag it and bin it.  That way, we can all live in harmony and love where we live.

This article was written by Beryl, a Lymm Radio Listener. March 2021.