I totally fail to understand why dog owners do not pick up the poo of their dog. It is disgusting, and lately in Porthleven, it seems many people have decided to be irresponsible and leave the dog poo where their dog has deposited. I often hear the cry – ‘it is not my dog’ however, the amount of faeces left on the pavement and in the open spaces is more than the work of one or two dogs. Or dare I say it 10 dogs with bad diets.
Another ‘defence’ I hear is there are not enough bins. Well, I will counter that on two counts. The first, is there are over 25 bins (mapped 31 but just need to confirm) in Porthleven. These are not just dog bins, but other waste bins which dog mess can be deposited into. Put simply, dog mess doesn’t just have to go into dog bins.
The second part is even if you cannot find a bin at your exact position you dog deposits, you can either A) carry it until you find a bin; or B) shock-horror, take it home with you and place it in your own dustbin. It is not rocket science.
Residents have had enough too, and very recently have taken to Facebook to vent their anger at the irresponsible – yet unnamed – owners. So much so, a new Facebook group has started called POOP – ‘Poo out of Porthleven.’
I very much welcome this, as the residents of Porthleven need to help if we want to eradicate the blight of dog mess on our streets and open spaces.
Nine dog wardens are employed by Cornwall Council, so the chances of a dog warden being in the right place when someone fails to pick up is slim. However, if a resident witnesses someone failing to pick up after their dog, and they are willing to report this, then Cornwall Council will issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) to the offender. Though the witness might have sign a statement for use in court if the offender does not pay the FPN.
In the meantime, I have been speaking to various officers at Cornwall Council on what support they can give the local community to tackle this issue. I am pleased to say the Council is very willing to help the community. This can be means of posters to be displayed around the town and in areas where it is like walking through a poo minefield. Training can also be delivered to residents on how to fill in the reporting card.
Cornwall Council runs courses to train people up to issue fixed penalty notices but it is best for them to be employees of Porthleven Town Council. The rules allow citizens, but this is fraught with difficultes.
Once everything is in place, targeted patrols of particular areas will be undertaken. These trained people could team up with Cornwall Council’s enforcement staff so they can put into action what they have learned and hopefully catch a few people.
It is all well and good moaning about it, but people need to stand up, and report those who they see not picking up after their dog. Without this citizen help, we are never going to solve this issue. However, from the response I have seen on Facebook, I believe there is a willing group of people who want to solve this issue. The danger is, you put up a few posters, it all stops for a while, then it returns. This has to be a long term plan.
The Town Council will be discussing the matter at its next meeting on Thursday 13th March at 7pm. The public are very welcome to attend.