Clean up doggie doos or risk fines, owners warned

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 08/11/2012
hayley davidson
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ
NOT IMPRESSED: Runner Hayley Davidson has questioned why dog owners can’t dispose of their pet’s deposits properly, rather than leaving them for her to step in while out running.

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It's that whiffy subject that people get steamed up about - dog poo. And it's official, it's getting worse in Timaru.

Runner Hayley Davidson has had enough of stepping in, over and around, the doggie deposits when she is out running, and Gleniti resident John Turnell arrived at the Herald office recently with a graphic (photographic) record of what a pooch had deposited on the footpath.

District council environmental services manager Rick Catchpowle confirmed the situation had got worse, with increased incidents of dogs fouling pavements and walkways indiscriminately, adding the council had recently installed new signs at parks and reserves addressing the issue.

Mr Catchpowle said the Scenic Reserve was one of the worst areas for fouling.

He installed a bag dispenser near the BMX track about six months ago, but it was vandalised that same day and the bags strewn around the area.

While most dog owners cleaned up after their pets, Mr Catchpowle said one of the major problems was when the animals were running loose and fouled some distance away from the owner.

While he had no doubt the owner knew exactly what their pet had done, they did not bother to walk the distance required to clean up.

Miss Davidson has seen just that situation.

"I yelled at him [a dog owner]. It was obvious his dog had crouched down, but he said he hadn't seen it."

Because she is training for the national road race event in January, Miss Davidson is running six days a week and seeing far too many doggie deposits.

"When you are running you are not looking down," she said of the chances of her accidently standing in them.

"I was out running [on Tuesday] and saw a bag of poo. Why could they not put it in a bin?"

"Some people think it is OK if it is on the grass. It's not."

The council's draft dog control policy says dog owners have a responsibility to immediately remove dog faeces from public or private land.

The council treats the issue so seriously that it is one of only two offences, the other being where there is injury or distress to a person or animal, where an offender is not first given a written warning.

The reason for that was it was very much a health issue, Mr Catchpowle said.

In the past four months three dog owners have received $300 fines for not cleaning up after their animal.

In two of those cases the animal control officer had observed the incident, and in the third, the infringement notice was issued after a member of the public made a complaint and the owner was able to be identified.

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- The Timaru Herald

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