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.