Hopefuls of all parties in the local elections are already tramping the streets making promises to deal with residents’ concerns. But the one topic which always arises and for which the standard answer is ‘nothing can be done’ is dog mess.
Worthing Daily has looked at how the problem is tackled elsewhere and we have come up with a few suggestions Worthing’s residents can make to those knocking on their doors seeking election. This is particularly apt in Central ward where the current Cabinet Member for the Environment Clive Roberts is up for re-election.
To tackle the problem in Paris the streets used to be patrolled by ‘moto-crottes’ – converted motorcycles that suck up dog faeces. But the local authorities decided to abandon the idea as it was costly, inefficient and encouraged laziness in dog owners. Not one perhaps for these times of austerity.
To shame dog owners some councils resort to painting dog poo in bright colours – bright green in Dorset, orange in Gloucestershire and bright pink in West Dumbartonshire. How about blue for conservative Worthing?
Also in the shaming mode some councils have placed sandcastle type flags on top of the piles of poo. In Boston, Lincolnshire they bear humorous and caustic messages such as ‘flagged up … irresponsible dog owner woz ‘ere.”
A more drastic method has been adopted in Brunette, Spain where volunteers looked out for irresponsible dog owners. Many were identified from the town’s pet database and the poo returned as ‘lost property’ in a box with the town’s insignia. Unsurprisingly there was a 70% drop in dog fouling.
Warning notices are popular and to give Mr Roberts his due he has introduced yellow stencilled warning pictures on Worthing’s pavements. Keep Britain Tidy’s latest campaign ‘We’re watching you’ has signs which are a bit stronger with eyes that glow in the dark. Adopted by over 40 local authorities and other organisations they have achieved on average a remarkable 46% reduction in dog fouling. It must be worth giving Keep Britain Tidy a tinkle.
The idea which most intrigues Worthing Daily is the use of dog DNA to identify the dog and its owner. This is already the practice in parts of Europe and in the United States. A Bournemouth councillor tried to introduce a by-law for all dogs to register with the local authority and have a DNA sample taken. Bournemouth’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment rejected the idea – perhaps Mr Roberts would be more accommodating?
So some ideas to put to those hopefuls knocking on your doors – some are not to be sniffed at!