As a dog owner and parish councillor, I hope to enlist your help in eliminating a scourge of South Hams’ beaches and footpaths. During a walk on the beach at Bigbury-on-Sea and on Burgh Island this week, I was disgusted at the number of black plastic ‘poo’ bags left lying at the side of the path or tied to bushes by irresponsible dog walkers after their pets had performed. These people obviously leave home with the intention of ‘emptying the dog’ because they are equipped with the necessary collection bags but they seem incapable of disposing of the fruits of their pet’s labours in the appropriate bins if they have to carry the full bags for more than a few metres. In Bigbury-on-Sea these bins are perfectly visible at the top of the main beach access points which beach users have to pass en route from the car parks and footways. The excuse that inadequate signage to dog bins is to blame just does not wash; if in doubt, TAKE IT HOME!
Many dog owners/ walkers do not appear to know that the failure to properly dispose of dog waste in a bin is as great an offence as leaving the mess unattended. As the SHDC website clearly states, ‘Dog Fouling is one of the top anti-social problems nationwide. Dog mess is unsightly, unpleasant & can spread disease, or in extreme cases, cause blindness. If you do not ensure that dog mess is picked up AND properly disposed of (my emphasis) a £80- £1000 Penalty may be payable under the District of South Hams Fouling of Land by Dogs Order 2013.
Come on dog walkers, clean up your dog’s act and help keep our beaches and footpaths ‘fit for purpose’ – ‘Bag It & Bin It’ for all our sakes!