This morning I may have taken the law into my own hands. I wound down the window of my van to suggest a lady pick her dog’s pooh up from the pavement, rather than walk on pretending it hadn’t happened. She replied that she didn’t have a bag with her. Had I not been stopped at lights, which at that point changed from red to green, I would have handed her a bag & politely suggested again that she pick up after her dog.
No-one in their right mind would ever argue that dogs should be allowed to foul our pavements & parks, yet people are allowing their dogs to do it. No-one needs to be reminded it’s unhygienic and disgusting. No-one likes to walk in it, not even the lady I spotted this morning who simply walked on & left the mess for someone else to step in.
Newcastle city residents may soon have to follow new by-laws when walking their dogs. The council is proposing to make it illegal to be in public with a dog, without having a waste disposal bag on your person. Current laws already state it’s illegal not to pick up after your dog, punishable with a fine of up to £1000. It seems councilors have decided to add this second law, in an attempt to tackle the growing issue of dog fouling. While the council should be applauded for their focus on improving a serious issue, my argument is that this additional by- law will not get people to pick up after their dogs.
As well meaning as the new by-law is, the council already have enough legal weight in place under the current dog fouling act, to make everyone pick up after their dogs. This law is simply not enforced. My argument is that all the theoretical laws in the world are pointless if no-one is around to see them upheld. It could be suggested that if the council concentrated less on adding an additional layer of theoretical bureaucracy & focused more on putting wardens into our parks or on our streets, this would be far more effective in tackling a growing problem. Current wardens do an amazing job, but they can’t be everywhere at once. Why not give power to more council workers, street cleaners and park maintenance people perhaps, to issue dog fouling fines?
The dog owner’s grape vine is vast and efficient. If word got out that regular fines were being issued at random locations across the city we might see the problem diminish. Only then would people would not only agree it’s a good idea to pick up after their dogs, they might also actually do it.