Dog mess left in public areas is a very common complaint and one that, sadly, is very difficult to deal with effectively. Tidying up a dog’s mess is the responsibility of dog owners. (Some bag it up but leave it lying on the ground or, inexplicably, hang it on trees! You must take it away with you and bin it.)
Although there are tough fines for not picking up, it is very difficult to bring a case unless there is a witness or video evidence. Stratford District has one dog warden but the area covered is so big that visits to Southam are rare.
In recent years, the problem eased and generally paths are clear but there are hot spots and some say that progress went backwards during the pandemic.
The strategy of the Town Council is to encourage social responsibility and couple this with having plenty of bins available to use. If there are hot spots for dog mess in a public place then by all means report it to the Town Council, preferably with photographic evidence. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about individual incidents.
Below we reproduce a “Doggie Do’s and Don’ts” originally in a Council Newsletter.
One topic the Town Council continues to get many complaints about is dog mess. The good news is that many dog owners are heeding our pleas and picking up. We are keeping an eye on overflowing bins, adding and redistributing as necessary.
However, the problem always gets worse as the nights draw in so we thought it might be useful to publish a Southam Guide to Canine Etiquette.
DO – remember to take some bags with you, including some spares (see Don’ts).
DO – always pick up from streets, footpaths, verges, open spaces, especially where children may play.
DO – remind your young ones to pick up if they take Bonzo for walkies unsupervised.
DO – offer to help less able dog-owners who may have difficulty bending down to pick up.
DO – keep your dog in sight. If it eludes surveillance, check where it has been to see if it has “been”. (Yes, we know most owners can recognise their own dog’s style.)
DON’T – think that the cover of darkness absolves you of responsibility; take a torch or use your phone light to locate your pooch’s package.
DON’T – discard your used dog bag other than in a bin. (Whoever it is hanging them on tree branches, please stop!)
DON’T – be squeamish about putting your used dog bag into a normal litter bin; it is officially encouraged and helps avoid overflows. It all ends up in the same place anyway.
DON’T – think that forgetting to take any dog bags absolves you of responsibility. Ask a fellow dog walker if they have a spare (see Do’s) or remember where your mutt left its message, go home, get a bag then go back and pick it up!
NEVER NEVER NEVER – let your dog mess in any children’s play area. We love dogs and we love to see them exercise but we also love our town.
Please help to keep it clean!