The LCD

As the whole world seems to like talking and writing about dog crap, I thought I would add my two penn’orth.

Last month, Gibraltar introduced a campaign against dog fouling. Or rather against people who do not pick up after their dogs. The fixed penalty fine is £150.

I will declare an interest here as we own a dog. And previously have owned three others. My parents owned four.

Gibraltar is a small place, most dog walkers take their dogs out around the streets and pavements where they live.

It is a shame that Morrisons stopped giving out free carrier bags, but fortunately all the tobacco smugglers discard their black bags with gay abandon, giving us a free supply of bags.

I do not agree with people not picking up after their dogs. Apart from anything else it gives the rest of us a bad name.

What really gets up my nose, are the owners who let their dogs go on the garden, and think, because it is not pavement, that they can just leave it. Hello, grossly inconsiderate owners, what about the gardeners who have to weed and tidy that area complete with Fido’s faeces?

I also think people get overly wound up about it. Why does no-one ever complain about cat faeces? Well, I do, because finding it in my garden is no fun at all.

But seriously, most dog owners are responsible and do pick up. Why can someone let out their cat/s to go in someone else’s garden or on the street and no-one ever comments about that?

The issue is about toxocariasis (I must be more Spanish than I thought as I originally spelled it the Spanish way, and when I did an internet search I wondered why all the links were in Spanish!).

This is the infamous roundworm that only occurs in dog faeces and makes people go blind, especially children who eat dirt all the time for some reason that is totally beyond me. [I probably need to add, that was an extremely sarcastic comment, and not true. Apart from wondering why children eat soil, and some people/children may get eye damage.]

OK. To be serious. It is a roundworm and is found in cats, dogs and foxes. There are two types, toxocara canis and toxocara cati.

A few wiki quotes:

Humans normally become infected by ingestion of embryonated eggs (each containing a fully developed larva, L2) from contaminated sources soil, fresh or unwashed vegetables, or improperly cooked paratenic hosts.
Toxocariasis will often resolve itself, because the Toxocara larvae cannot mature within human hosts.

Most cases of toxocariasis are seen in people under the age of twenty.

Young children are at the greatest risk of infection because they play outside and tend to place contaminated objects and dirt in their mouths.

Apparently there are 10,000 cases a year in the USA, and 40 in the UK. Anyone who wants to work out the figures can see that the USA has far more cases on a population basis. Um, why?

Also why do children eat dirt? Did you? I never did. Neither did my partner. Those of you who are parents may well wish to point out that is natural for all children to eat soil. Quite frankly, I think that is a load of crap. How about you look after your kids and tell them it is not a good idea to stick soil in their mouth? This issue is about lack of education and lack of parental control.

This is not to justify people who don’t collect after their dogs, but to try and add some perspective. Your children are not my responsibility, my dogs are. You look after your kids, I’ll look after my dogs. But don’t blame my dogs because your children eat soil.

And if you don’t look where you are going and tread in dog mess, I suggest you wash it off when you return home. Just as I have done. Also look out for vomit, human excrement and chewing gum. Watch your step really.

Don’t forget the cat owners. Apparently cat faeces are no problem. Because that one can’t be policed. They still carry toxocara which leads to toxocariasis. We all know that, don’t we, because it is so well publicised is it not?

From the Dogs’ Trust:

Sadly, most people’s knowledge of the rare Toxocara canis infection is limited to hearsay and hysterical media reports. However the facts are:
• As the eggs of the Toxocara worm take over two weeks to hatch and become active, there are no health risks to you from immediately clearing up after your dog.
• In tests, only five per cent of pet dogs were found to expel Toxocara worm eggs.
• Of this five per cent, the majority were pups between two weeks and six months of age or pregnant bitches. 
• Foxes and cats also act as hosts to the Toxocara worm.
• The incidence of all Toxocara-induced diseases in the UK is only two cases per million of the population. However, this still means that about 40 people are needlessly ill each year.
• The eggs of the Toxocara worm, if deposited in soil, can lie dormant for up to three years, if the conditions are right. They are highly resilient to temperature changes and chemical disinfectants have little effect on them. 

If you consider the biggest problem in the world is dog crap and you love to write about it, I suggest you consider your sense of reality.

There are sixty countries at war/in a state of armed conflict, women are suffering violence every day, animals are being raped and killed, the environment is being destroyed, and countries such as Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia have more than half their population living on less than two dollars a day.

And the following countries include more than half the population who are living below their own set national poverty line. Note, richer countries set a higher level of poverty than poorer ones. Unsurprisingly. So if you are poor in Burundi, you are seriously poor:
Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Dog excrement on the other hand, is a major issue. It’s somewhat like local councillors discussing for hours, whether to increase the charge for public toilets from one penny to two pennies, and not dealing with the bigger issues.

The lowest common denominator is always easier.

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
This entry was posted in animal rights, animals, dogs, environment, feminism, gibraltar, life, poverty, thoughts and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to The LCD

  1. I hadn’t heard anything about this trend! Thanks for introducing it to my sheltered life; I’m against all sort of faeces and if I had a dog I would make Hairy pick it up at least 🙂

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  2. cobbies69 says:

    I had dogs and cats, and lived in the New Forest, a dog and cat mess was in great competition with horses and cows and donkeys and certain times of the year pigs. And it was the fences some animals rubbed against could cause the human life a touch of grief, if I remember right could catch ring worm. So the forresters were on a losing battle.. nice post again how interesting can dog poo get. oh and the cat’s

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    • We have horses, goats, sheep, draught cattle in our spanish pueblo, pretty much like your description of the New Forest.

      It seems odd to pick up after a dog when the street is cluttered with other animal excrement, but we do it in Spain too, it takes little effort.

      I think there are two important issues that are very distinct. One is that it is inconvenient to step in excrement, or worse roll your wheelchair in it, when you use your hands to power a wheelchair. The second is the issue of disease, which in the UK, is not a huge problem at all, but is blown out of all proportion.

      Oh, and the third is, tell your kids not to stick dirty fingers in their mouth and not to eat soil.

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      • cobbies69 says:

        There are cattle grids now all over the forest to stop the animals from roaming into the villages, but yes when I was a child my mother was often telling us not put our fingers in our mouth, regardless of where we had been. You also mentioned a good point with wheel chairs. Another downer is the smell when treading in is cats crap, that is really throat bashing and made me reach… to get rid of the smell my mum would scrub brush with a solutions of bleach and disinfectant.

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        • No such thing as grids where I live 😀

          But seriously, why do people think it is OK for kids to stick dirty fingers in mouths and eat soil? This one just leaves me shaking my head. Both my partner and I said we would have got a serious telling off aka a slap, had we done that.

          I think the wheelchair one is important. People with disabilities need to get around and we all need to respect their right to a clean pavement or road. Much harder to manoeuvre a large wheelchair out of the way of something than to daintily step aside.

          My partner can smell the cat crap in the garden straight away. I’m actually not that attuned to it – but he will stand there, sniff, and find it. Maybe ‘cos he grew up with cats? Either way, I don’t want it on my nice organic veg thankyouverymuch. And it still carries the same worms.

          I read about red pepper/cayenne being a good repugnant but I have forgotten to try it, as I have most of the garden wired over at the moment.

          Thanks for your points Gerry. I think it is an issue that is far too simplified. Dogs foul, fine owners, end of story. If it is a health issue then it is wider than dogs. To me, it seems like one of those easy fix solutions to pretend someone is doing something about an issue that honestly is not important. Most people in cities and towns pick up after their dogs. Most people do not contract toxocariasis. Most people have the sense to wash off their shoes whatever they tread in. And some of us consider there are other problems to resolve in the world that make trivia like this pale into insignificance.

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  3. Vicky says:

    Excellent post again!
    40 cases a year in the UK, that seems quite a small figure compared with all the other diseases and ailments that can also cause serious problems.
    Up until we recently changed our front garden layout, I’m sure it was the toilet for all the local cats, which was very annoying when my dogs decided the faeces were tasty morsels. If cats are carriers, how often have my dogs been infected? Good job they are wormed regularly.
    And yes, I do pick up after my dogs, I’ve even offered a bag to a dog walker who wasn’t going to.
    As for the footpaths around my home, I’m in more danger from the adult cyclists that chose to use them instead of the road!

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    • Thanks Vic. I thought it was a good summary from the Dogs Trust, about the realities of toxocariasis.

      Yes, my point was that while everyone hits on dogs because they are far more obvious, why does no-one highlight the cat issue? Nothing against cats, but it’s just picking on the easiest prey.

      In fact, given that pups and lactating bitches are the major dogs at risk,I doubt LS and J are threatening the local population, a bit like P.

      Haha!! A has also glared at people who are on the point of walking off and proffered a spare bag 🙂

      Cycling on footpaths in a whole nother issue, which also annoys me, although (ssssh, I have done it when there have been no pedestrians on the wrong side of a one way street – everyone does it in Spain!).

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  4. Jean says:

    Does Gilbrator have dog leash-free parkettes for them to run around? Just wondering. We have them in Vancouver. Calgary even has one with a path roundabout. Yea, I plan to write about that..part2 on dog spas,etc.

    For very young babies that crawl on grass, it would be safer not to have dog poop strewn about. However, I think nowadays dog owners living in cities with bylaws for cleaning up after dog poop during dog walk, there is overall less poop. But I haven’t checked all the time…since I’m on the bike..

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    • No we don’t have dog parks, although there is a proposal for one. We have snuck into a fenced car park with another dog and the two had great fun playing around. It’s been totally locked up now. 😦 The only problem with dog parks is if other dogs do have diseases, the close mixing doesn’t help.

      When I was a young baby I didn’t crawl on grass, or at least not on public grass. And I was overly supervised through my childhood. Good aspects and bad aspects.

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  5. EllaDee says:

    This is the most entertaining article about crap I have ever read! Picking up your dog’s crap is very must do in Sydney – the bins in the parks have handy dispensers of little black bags, and woe betide any transgressing dog owner… there is no greater sin… you can spit, vomit, and although illegal, still common practice to chuck rubbish & cigarette butts, but no dog poo… and cats, well while their poo is annoying is considered a lesser issue not occurring on the street, the greater is they kill indiscrimately… and while I agree there are huger issues in the world, animal ownership does reflect an overall issue that ever lacks traction, oh so so not appealing for too many… personal responsibility… leading to a multitude of sins and omissions.

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    • Ha! It was meant to be informative! When we were travelling down through France and in Biarritz, there were delightful black bags. Found them again in Torremolinos (Spain). Most handy. Think the recession will have put a stop to all those nice free bags though.

      I don’t agree with it, but nor do I like, as you say, treading in spit, chewing gum, vomit, cat poo etc etc. The worst thing to get rid of is a) chewing gum for the tenacity and b) cat poo for the stink, closely followed by c) human poo.

      I think people like to focus on issues they can resolve. And this is one of them. Sort of. It is still out of proportion.

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  6. Although dog dirt (or cat mess) isn’t nice and I don’t like either I’m also not keen on bullshit and I always thought the issue of toxocara risk was a case of collective paranoia and your statistics seem to confirm that. There are a lot more things that will do you a lot more harm – alcohol, heroin, tobacco, vehicle emissions, salmonella, leptospirosis etc.
    With respect I think you are wrong about children – of course no parent is going to encourage a child to put dirty fingers in their mouths but hey, you try stopping them – it’s difficult to have a reasoned debate with a one year old! Every child does it and I bet you did too!
    You are right however about local councils spending a lot of time talking about it which is a shame but promising to deal with it does seem to be a vote winner!
    Good post by the way!

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    • To be bluntly honest I would rather swill my boots off if I have mistakenly walked in dog mess, than retrieve the cat mess from my garden (I find the smell seriously nauseating). I see no difference. They are both in an unwanted place. The difference is that dogs on streets are ‘policed’ therefore, easier to have a go at, and cats in gardens are not. Same risk is still there.

      And you are right, there are a lot more things that are more harmful, and I nearly added a similar risk list. It wouldn’t have been the same of course, tobacco would have been on there, too much alcohol (especially hard spirits), hard drugs, poor diet/junk food, lack of exercise, (you and I walk to the shops), stress and depression.

      But it depends what you are looking at. I won’t get into salmonella. I remember going to India and being aware of leptospirosis. In the UK:

      Cases in England

      Rarely, leptospirosis occurs in temperate climates, such as England. For example, in 2009, there were 33 reported cases of leptospirosis in England and Wales, 14 of which were acquired abroad.

      Um, so less than toxicariasis.

      I am clearly wrong about all children, but I did not eat soil. Simple. Neither did my partner, or his siblings. I don’t think we are the only half dozen in the Uk not to stick our dirty grubby soily fingers in our mouths.

      As a final point, A has had to change his dog walk because someone is not cleaning up after their dog and he doesn’t want to be blamed. We live in a blame society.

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      • I only mentioned leptospirosis because I knew you would look it up! Actually, for a time when I worked in waste management in the 1990s there was a real paranoia about it so that’s how I knew about it.
        OK – you didn’t eat dirt – I concede! I did and will probably have to again!
        Thanks for responding!

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        • Obviously when I went to India in the 80s I was aware of it then, but just one of many things to avoid. I don’t think the list of tropical diseases list is relevant but I can add a post later on what I researched before I went to Asia if you are that interested. I didn’t even know it was relevant to the UK, and according to the (NHS) stats it isn’t a big issue as above 🙂

          Anyway, time for something semi-flippant so am writing a film post. Sort of.

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