Walking through our park this morning, I saw a large dog - black curly hair - defecating on the grass. I looked around, but there was no-one - other than me - within 30 yards.
So I watched the dog as it ran off towards two women, deep in conversation, backs to the dog.
I asked them if it was their dog, and on hearing that it was, told them what it had done. One of them said 'Oh, he's watching it' indicating two men, also deep in conversation, following 50 yards behind.
So I told the men what the dog had done. 'Oh no', said one, 'he didn't do anything. He's already gone toilet 3 times'.
So I took them and showed them exactly where - from a distance at the time of only 10 feet - I had quite clearly seen the dog foul the grass.
The four people then lectured me on why I shouldn't be angry, because the park was for everyone to enjoy: but not once did any of them concede that they should keep a closer eye on their pet.
I was indeed angry. I have on many occasions had to tell people who were too busy chatting to notice that their dog had fouled the grass, but this was the first time I'd had 4 fools tell me off for doing so. Most people graciously accept that they missed it, and some even apologise or admit their error.
If any of the four read this, I hope that on reflection you admit - at least to yourself - that you need to keep a closer watch on your pet, and that it is reasonable for a passer-by to be angry in the face of a determination to deny the truth.
Please clean up after your dog - and if your dog has a digestive problem, which this one obviously did, watch it closely.
There doesn't seem to be much interest here in the question of dog behaviour - however, call this a blog.
For the third time this year I've had to tell people they cannot take their dog into the park through the gate by the Somerville Rd pedestrian crossing. For the third time I've had the same response: 'The sign says no dogs in play area - but it doesn't say where the play area is'.
Now, there is a little sign on the wall saying 'play area' with an arrow, but it is not obvious in its position or intent.
The first time this excuse was offered to me I thought 'how silly - it's obvious that dogs are prohibited from using that entrance', but after three times I can only come to two conclusions: either there are a great many dense dog owners around, or the signage isn't as clear as it might be.
If I see this happening so often when by chance I am passing that gate - say 30 seconds duration a dozen times a week - then it is logical to assume that it is happening many times when I am not passing. Perhaps clearer signage is called for. With a direction to the nearest gate dogs CAN use?
We have been in touch within the last weei with Sarah Tyler, our BCC Parks co-ordinator, to ask for new signs to be put up reminding people that the entrance you mention is part of the dog-free zone. We usually get a good response from Sarah and will pursue the idea with her.
The best way, of course, to keep the amount of dog fouling down in the park as a whole, is for park users to let offending dog owners know that the action of their dogs affects everyone, whether the owners are watching or not. Many thanks on behalf of all at FoSAP for taking the action that you did!
John Mayne, Chair, FoSAP