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No matter the size, no matter the place, Don’t poop and run!

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes but they all have one thing in common, poo. Judging what is socially and environmentally acceptable to do with your dogs faeces can be a bit of minefield so we have debunked some of the myths and simplified everything…no matter the size, no matter the place…#BagItBinIt

The ‘Don’t Poop and Run’ campaign has been designed in collaboration with Litter Free Dorset and Dorset Dogs. Take a look at Litter Free Dorset’s website below for information on how we can keep our towns, villages and countryside litter free. Dorset dogs promote responsible dog ownership, check out their ‘doggy do code’! You can also report repeated dog fouling to Dorset Council, please see the link below.

Myths and facts

As long as its not on the path its ok. I just stick and flick if it’s not.

Small children do not stick to paths! Dog poo on pram wheels and in shoes is not fun. Plus Dog faeces can seriously impact on local farm animals. Bacteria contained in faeces can cause cattle to abort. Importantly neospora oocysts can last on the ground for long periods of time so if there isn’t cattle in the field until later in the year, the neopora could still affect them.  Once a cow has been infected they remain infected for life so all future calves they have are likely to abort.

It’s fine to leave it because it will just wash away when it next rains.

“Away” actually means that it is likely to reach our local rivers and seas in this case. Dog faeces is very high in bacteria and local sea swimmers, paddleboarders and paddlers will not want to splash around with floaters that could make them sick.

You can leave it on the beach – the tide will wash it “away” – see above

There is cow and sheep poo all over the countryside, what is the big deal about dog poo?

Cows and sheep are herbivores so their poo is broken-down plant matter, a bit like compost whereas dogs’ diets contain processed meats and fish products. You wouldn’t want to spread dog poo on your allotment! Dog poo can contain:

Learn more about Neospora from a local farm vet

Dog poo can only go in dog poo bins

You can put them in any bin! Any bin will do!

It is better to leave the poo on the ground rather then wrap it up in a plastic bag – plastic is more terrible for the environment than dog poo

Plastic bags are only a problem when they aren’t put in the bin as we know that plastic never breaks down and just becomes micro plastic. However, dog poo that goes in the bin could be burnt for energy from waste if in a council bin – so your dog poo can help heat a home or charge someone’s phone! It is worth looking into biodegradable poo bags that do not contact plastic too.

Do you have an issue with dog fouling near to you? We have created some free to use resources to help you tackle the issue and we would love to work with you to roll out this campaign in your area. Resources available:

  • Social media content
  • Stencils and ecological paints to loan
  • Signs and posters to put up
  • Campaign monitoring sheets
  • Dog poo bags

How to roll out the campaign:

  • Contact the landowner to get permission to roll out this campaign and put up any signs, posters and/or stencils (we can help you find out who the landowner is if you are not sure)
  • Get others on board with you to help – running a campaign on your own is hard work. Plus, it is really important to think about how you might come across to dog walkers. Behavioural change theory indicates that people are more likely to listen to their peers and perceived experts therefore getting local dog owners, vets, pet shops, groomers and dog walking services is a great idea to ensure your local campaign is a success
  • Assess the situation – We recommend that you take a couple of weeks to record incognito how many poos are left and where they are using our recording sheet. This will help you judge the best place to put up your signs and/or stencils
  • Run the campaign – use the social media gifs and images on community Facebook pages and get your local vets etc. to share them too. Keep the text you use in your social media positive and thank those dog owners who do pick up after their dogs.
  • Be present – Being a friendly face on site when the campaign is running is hugely important. Welcoming people to a place, letting them know about the campaign and handing out dog poo bags is a fantastic way to engage with people. We do not recommend doing this on your own though so always buddy up.
  • Monitor its impact using our monitoring sheets – this is hugely helpful to the landowner to show that what you have done has been successful and also to us. Your feedback on what did and didn’t work with the campaign can really help others who want to run the campaign in the future.

Get in touch today to talk to us about running the campaign in your area.

A Vet’s View

In Dorset, we are very fortunate to have an amazing network of public pathways for people to walk and exercise their dogs. In contrast to public areas, there is generally a ‘laissez faire’ attitude to collecting dog poo in and around public pathways. I am taking this opportunity to discuss a condition that affects cattle called ‘Neosporosis’ and the important role that the public can play in its’ control.

Neosporosis is a disease caused by a protozoan parasite, Neospora caninum. It is the most frequently diagnosed cause of abortion in cattle in the UK. Cattle can be infected without showing clinical signs and infection can enter the herd either through environmental contamination from dog poo or through the purchase of infected animals. Dogs are the definitive host of the parasite and very rarely show any clinical signs of disease. Dogs which ingest infected tissues  can shed infected eggs(oocytes). These oocytes  can persist and survive in the environment for several months, so the general public may not appreciate that pasture contamination can persist until the following year. Cattle who ingest these oocysts can become infected . A recent study showed one fifth of cows that experienced abortion  in the UK have been infected by Neospora caninum.

Several on-farm steps can be made to reduce the risk of transmission and eradicate the disease. The general public can play a vital role in reducing the spread of this disease. The true incidence of Neospora in dogs is unknown, however the risk of transmission between dogs and cattle is drastically reduced if dogs faeces are removed from pasture grazed by cattle.

This condition represents a huge financial loss to farmers who at present are struggling in the current economic climate.  The simple take home message to dog owners is if your dog does a poo on grazing land (even if no cattle are grazing on it at the time), please remove and dispose of it carefully, where possible. It will be greatly appreciated by the cows and farmers  of Dorset.

Barry O’Mahony (Veterinarian) Bredy Veterinary Centre, Bridport.