Top of the Rock of Gibraltar by RedCoat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic

People allowing their dogs to foul freely has always been a local problem. Barely a day passes without a post on Speak Freely with someone complaining about the state of the pavements, beaches, garages and stairwells in apartment blocks, but still it continues to be a problem.

In 2016, the Government attempted to bring in DNA fingerprinting, but a fine could only be issued if the owner was caught in the act, in person or on CCTV. Even with the deployment of extra CCTV cameras, owners have just moved on to where they can’t be seen.

Now think about that, irresponsible owners, rather than simply bagging their pets waste and disposing of it are actually going out of their way to find areas where they can’t be seen. They are actively putting effort into being lazy.

One post on Speak Freely over this past weekend was photos of multiple sightings of dog excrement on the beach. It’s almost as if now the summer has passed some members of the public have forgotten that the beach is a public area, inhabited primarily by families for large portions of the year.

One of the images was of dog excrement that had been collected and then just left, bagged, on the beach. In a way that’s worse, at least with bad weather uncollected hopefully excrement will slowly erode and may get washed out to sea, with it bagged it’s just left there to be buried, and potentially be dug up in the future. The hard work is done, it’s been bagged, why not finish the job of putting it in a bin.

Pet ownership is an individuals responsibility, irresponsible owners need to understand that companies such as Master Service are not in place to provide individuals with a private service. If you are unable to uphold your duties as an owner, then there is a simple solution, don’t own a pet.

The Government need to look at ways to eliminate people’s reasons for failure to act. DNA fingerprinting, fines, and extra CCTV clearly aren’t resolving the issue.

A couple of suggestions, one of which could be simply ensuring that poo bags are readily available, Morrisons and Eroski do run out of stock extremely quickly. Five out of seven days you will not see them on the shelves, the demand is frighteningly higher than the supply.

If the Government were to issue them at a discounted rate for registered dog owners, then that would eliminate an excuse.

Another suggestion would be to create designated areas for pets.

Designated areas will give owners a place where they can take their pets to play, it would limit their use of public areas, such as the beach. With designated areas, people will also have an area to take their pets in the summer, with the beach off limits, and the pavements too hot for the majority of the day, then a designated area would be of massive help to all owners, and it would prevent people just stepping outside their homes to allow their pets to do their business.

Obviously there is simply the case that some owners don’t care. Regardless of how easy you make the situation they will continue to allow their pets free reign to do as they please regardless of consequence. Unfortunately, this is a mentality that cannot be easily eliminated.

The best hope we have is that owners take responsibility for their pets, and do the best to ensure they set the standard that people will follow.