Alan Castle: Scoop sense seems to be lacking once again

WHY do some people think it is necessary to let their dogs foul our pavements leaving a pile of smelly faeces for others to stumble upon?

When the Gazette ran a campaign to Scoop the Poop, I thought we might be winning a battle which has got up the noses – and on the shoes – of hundreds if not thousands of residents. People seemed to be taking notice and joining the crusade to rid our streets of this awful mess.

But it seems that people forget very quickly.

In the last few weeks, there have been dozens of piles of dog poo littering the street. Clearing up someone’s crisp packets and sweet wrappers is one thing, but having to clean up after their dogs is something entirely different. People shouldn’t have to do it and owners should be made to take responsibility for their actions.

There are signs up which warn people that they will be fined if they don’t clean it up, but it doesn’t seem to deter them.

And it isn’t just our streets that are blighted, playing fields are too, which can cause an even bigger problem. Children like to play, they like to get dirty, but how would you like it if your child ended up putting their hand in a great big pile of dog poo? I for one would not be amused.

I am not amused either that I cannot walk down the street without having to tackle a dog excrement obstacle course. And then there is that dreaded moment when you walk into work, or a house and someone says, ‘who has brought dog poo into here?’

There is a dried mess outside the Alnwick Playhouse, not just one piece, but a line of it. How could someone fail to notice that?

I once saw someone walking their dog, when the canine companion decided it wanted to go to the toilet. Fair enough, the dog doesn’t know the annoyance it causes, but the owner just pulled it along and took absolutely no notice whatsoever of what its pet was doing.

As a dog owner I religiously clean up after my furry friend. He might tug the lead and want to continue with his favourite activity but I make sure I get every last bit bagged up – and tied up – and binned. That is the way it should be. People who don’t pick up after their pets shouldn’t walk them in public, that’s the simple answer.

It is a perfect example of how lazy society has become.

So what is the council going to do about it? We need to see positive action taken as soon as possible.

Next year we will be hosting the Olympic torch overnight as part of its journey around the country prior to the start of the games in London. it won’t look very good if our torchbearers step in dog poo when they are taking part in such a prestigious event.

We need to do something and now!

I can think of numerous options, but the easiest one is just to act responsibly. It saves money, stress, anger and annoyance. And it only takes a few seconds and a tiny bit of thought.

WHILE we’re on the subject of mess, Northumberland County Council seems to be getting itself into a bit of one, thanks to its dogged pursuit of people who it claims haven’t paid their tax.

I know a few people who have fallen foul of this recently, all of whom actually never miss a payment.

The question seems to be that the council demands payment on or by a certain day of the month, depending on how you pay. If it’s by standing order, then you have to pay by the first, whereas direct debit is also permitted on the 15th and 28th.

There can’t be any denying that direct debit is cheaper for the council and therefore all taxpayers, but harrassing people with threats of court is a step too far.