A mother’s view – dog fouling in Whitchurch
Sometimes, I’m almost thankful I don’t have a sense of smell…

Just today (Tuesday) I passed two of the most disgusting and large piles of dog mess as I was walking to the train station. One just a few metres from my house, situated next to a public bench and public waste bin on Newbury Road. It was 8:50 am, just after children are heading to school and using that very path. I was amazed, because such droppings of this stuff usually gets trodden in and spread by children – however, the size of this particular ‘pile’ was impressive by any standards, unless you own a horse. Or possibly a small elephant.

“You’re a grown up, just walk around it…” – Yes, I could do that, I could choose to ignore. The dog owner who had left it obviously felt the same. But no, I just couldn’t. Because I’m a mum.

Yes, I’d cleaned shoes on many occasions where dog muck had been stepped in. I’d had dog mess on my hands from removing children’s shoes, which has passed through canine faeces. It’s not nice, it’s dangerous (Toxicara can blind – NHS: Toxocariasis) and it’s unfair that I have to do it. It’s not just kids – my partner has also brought it into the house on his footwear.

So, I opened my phone and posted a status to Facebook, which was picked up by many friends – most were disgusted and could list their own ‘findings’ both in Whitchurch and surrounding areas – but also largely on routes to schools or nurseries. Some found it amusing, and I’d like to put that down to my sense of humour. Personally, I just wanted the perpetrator to bag it and bin it,

I said if the offending item was still there on my return from work, I’d take a photo with something next to it for scale. I thought it would be funny, and was pleased to see that on returning home it had been picked up and (one assumes) disposed of correctly. Not tossed in a bag into a tree – another moan – but I digress. I posted on Facebook, thinking that the owner may have seen and corrected their mistake. Then set of for school, to find a few metres DOWN from my house another pile. So I photographed, with pen next to it for scale and posted my anger. I’d been encouraged to put pen to paper, so after picking up my children, typed this up.

In brief, I have no problem with dogs, dog owners or people who clear up after themselves. I do have a problem with people fouling pavements – be it dog mess, chewing gum, cigarette butts or litter. I’m sure 100 percent of people would agree with that, however, someone seems ignorant of their own actions and how it is affecting this little town and the next generation.

So, if you agree that dog fouling IS an issue in this town, then I suggest this:

  • Carry a plastic bag in your pocket.
  • If you spot a dog fouling, waiting to see if it gets picked up.
  • If it doesn’t – call to the owner that you have a bag. Most people would be embarrassed, but would accept and pick it up. No need to be impolite.

And, if you ARE the person doing this. PLEASE STOP!
I may just track you down with a bag of shoes covered in dog mess for YOU to clean.