While running on Tramore Beach this morning an ultra cool couple appeared on the beach ahead of me. They had matching dogs on matching coloured leads. They could have been in an advertisement for some kind of healthy living product so cool were they. Until that is they stopped and waited for one of their dogs to deposit some turds and then moved on. Not so cool now. No, more like dirty, disgusting lazy and ignorant.
When I lived in the UK it seemed most everyone picked up their dog shit after them though it is still a huge problem over there. Over here in Ireland it is rare to see people pick up after their dogs. Many seem to regard the great outdoors as a shit-pit for their pets.
It may be that people think that dog shit is like a natural fertilizer. This is not the case. Dog (and cat) faeces is rife with parasites many of which actually ripen with age and linger in water and soil for years. Yes years. These parasites can pass disease on to humans. The most well-known one is toxicariasis which can cause blindness but there are all sorts of other lovely things to catch like tape worms and e-coli. The list is long.
Some may bring their dogs to the beach thinking the shit gets washed out to sea, a sort of giant flush toilet. Of course some does. Washed out to the paddlers and swimmers and surfers. Broken up and dispersed in the water for fish to eat. Fish that are caught and put on our plates. Nice.
What amazes me as much as people’s inability to take responsibility for their pets is that in a society that is so ridiculously child-centred, dogs and their shit still trump all. People don’t care if children are at the risk of being blinded or given worms as long as their dogs can crap wherever they feel like. Even people can’t crap where they feel like it! Can you imagine the uproar if people began crapping on the beach?It wouldn’t be popular.
Our beautiful three-mile beach is rife with dogs through all the hours of daylight. Every day. Through the year. How much shit is that?
The outdoors can of course be a dodgy place and I am not advocating that it should be sanitized. There are dead animals washed up on the beach and their corpses can cause disease but they don’t bother me so much. They are far more visible and thus avoided and far rarer than dog shit and at least we can ring the council to remove them. I doubt their remains cover a fraction of the area dog shit does and. At this stage I don’t think its an exaggeration to say that the whole beach and the Back Strand must have traces of dog faeces in every square foot.
It can be argued that wild animal shit is also infectious and we have lived with it since the dawn of time which is true but we are no longer at the dawn of time and there are not such huge concentrations of wild animals in urban areas(or any areas any more) and wild animals near people tend to avoid them and cover their traces. Not so the doggies who seem to have been universally taught that their shit is gold.
There are many I am sure who think this is a non issue, that we should all wash our hands and get on with it and not be so fussy. I am not one of those. I hate dog shit. It’s just disgusting. And I am not easily disgusted.
Recently I knelt down in a pretty grassy gateway scattered with dandelions to take a photo straight in a huge pile of dog shit. I was covered in it. Sickening. It makes me furious that I can’t even use my country side because dogs have first dibs on it as a toilet! There’s a reason why we humans shit in toilets. Why don’t the same rules apply to dogs?
If you own an animal you are responsible for it. Pick up after it. It will take you all of five seconds. If not, you had better hope the next time you are walking on the prom, eating fish and chips and enjoying the sight of the sea where that fish has so recently been swimming, as you admire the surfers turd dodging and the swimmers ducking under the waves, that you don’t catch a massive dose of worms. Because I will be fervently hoping you do.