POOP – Poo out of Porthleven

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.

3 comments

  • David

    May I start by saying firstly that I regard the leaving dog mess to be a form of anti-social behaviour and that I am myself a responsible dog owner and always pick up – well nearly always!

    My dog goes about 3 times a day which means around 1,000 pick-ups a year! To be honest there are occasions when I can’t find what he has done because it is in amongst long grass or a pile of leaves or maybe he just shapes to do something but nothing is produced. Occasionally it is so windy the bag gets blown out of my hand or sometimes when I am watching the traffic or something distracts me he does something that I don’t see, especially in the dark. I would say all these instances maybe account for 10 missed pick-ups a year giving a 99% success rate.

    I mention this to make the point it is almost impossible to be 100% efficient and with the number of dogs around even that one percent of missed pick-ups can add up.

    Would also say that visiting a town with a dog can be a difficult experience and you can’t leave your animal in the car especially in warm weather. It’s a juggling act negotiating all the crowds and the traffic etc with lead in one hand, your shopping in another plus a full poo bag, and yes… where is the flippin’ dog bin when you need one. I don’t know about Porthleven but I haven’t seen any dog bins in Looe town centre where I live and this is a problem everywhere in Cornwall.

    I do feel guilty at putting it in a standard litter bin because it is still a bit smelly (the odour permeates through plastic btw). Also, if it is okay to put it in an ordinary bin then why are there dedicated dog bins? Google this question to see there is nationwide confusion on whether it is okay or not. If you are suggesting Andrew that any litter bin is alright for dog bags then does it say so on the bins in Porthleven?? Is there a notice saying ‘LITTER & DOG WASTE’ on every bin? If not then this is needs changing – a dog logo would suffice. Also any advertising should stress that ALL bins in Cornwall can be used – the message needs to put out there.

    I don’t know if you are a dog owner (I guess probably not from the tone of your article) but I feel that all dog owners are being somewhat tarnished with the same brush. Personally when I see a pile of mess I think OMG I wish someone had picked that up – it’s going to give us all a bad name, dogs are going to be banned from public places, I hope no-one thinks it was me, it would be just my luck to get wrongly reported.

    So why don’t us responsible dog owners, who have dog bags in our pockets, think about also picking up other people’s mess when we come across it? It’s a bit unpleasant granted but it would be for the greater good and would compensate for the rare times when, for one reason or another, we missed our own pick-ups. If we all did this then it wouldn’t come around too often – just a thought!

    Perhaps you could put these points to the town council meeting on behalf of an occasional visitor to Porthleven.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Thank you for the post. I was a dog owner. In fact I’ve had two dogs.

    Whilst I agree we may never eradicate this 100%, and improvement on the current situation is a must.

  • Victoria

    Oh great – so the solution to the Great Local Dog Poo Debate is people calling the authorities on their neighbours? Really? Even the neighbour who doesn’t pick up because his eyesight is going, or the lady who’s going through a breakdown? Or the bloke that nobody likes to mention picking up to in the park, because he looks like he’s going to thump you and nobody wants to risk getting on the wrong side of him? And who polices false reporting, given that the dog wardens are already overstretched?

    This is not community spirit. This is the kind of thing that start out horrible local feuds and bad-feeling that can last years, and makes the whole place a nastier place to live.

    Instead of hectoring at dog owners – which makes the responsible ones defensive, as you saw in the other comment, and is ignored by the rest – why not try engaging them? Get people handing out bags. Talk to them about bin locations and making it clear you can use a normal bin, not just a poo bin. What about a campaign to try to get people to pick up ‘just one extra’ when they are picking up after their own dog? I do this all the time, yet I have never seen one public sign encouraging people to do it, and as a dog owner, I feel constantly the target of official signs that shout crossly at me (and now, apparently, officious people who will try to report me).

    You already have a serious issue in Porthleven with disaffected dog owners who do not feel like happy members of the community. You need to address that to bring people together, not make it worse!

    Citizen help, you want? I’ll give citizen help – picking up poo. I refuse to provide ‘citizen help’ by phoning in reports against the rest of the community. Horrible idea.

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