It is estimated that approximately 26% of UK households have at least one dog. The responsibilities of being a dog owner are numerous and much thought needs to be entered into prior to offering a dog a home. Can you afford to feed your dog for it’s lifetime, pay insurance and increasing veterinary bills? Its also fundamentally about commitment. Can you walk your dog at least twice a day, every day, in all weather conditions, as well as have time for training and play?

I believe the first and most important question is, are you prepared to clean up after your dog? If you are not, get a goldfish!

Colchester has a problem with some dog owners not clearing up their dog waste, and disposing of it safely. You wouldn’t leave home without a change of nappy for a child, so why would you not take poo bags with you on a dog walk?
Evidence, or should that be excrement is scattered throughout our estates and streets, ironically even when bagged. This reflects badly on some responsible owners, who do the right thing.

Would the provision of more dog waste bins on our estates help to reduce the problem? It may help only those that bag & bin. Yet if CBC provide more it may begin to tackle the issue. Alas I fear there will always be a minority who refuse to clear up after their dog. So we need an identification process, and the enforcement of fines to culprits.

What is evident, is a lack of respect for others, the town and environment, and is actually a form of antisocial behaviour. The lack of a licensing system, a national register and the enforcement of fines means anyone can get a dog, without any proof of their ability to train, afford, insure and clean up after.

Is it time we reintroduced the local dog warden? Would a dog Census or a national dog register help address irresponsible ownership and breeding? There is anecdotal evidence of UK council’s successfully using DNA identification to reduce repeat offending/fouling.

The onus lies with owners. Please do the right thing when it comes to dog waste. Bag it, AND bin it!

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