I live in a small Devon Village very near to a fantastic place called Orley Common where at this time of year there is an abundance of wild primroses, bluebells and orchids.
The Common itself is a microcosm of what you would expect from an ancient wood with deciduous trees which is also helped by being high enough to provided fantastic views of Dartmoor and in the distance Haytor Rocks.
What Orley Common also provides is a safe and fantastic place to take dogs for a walk and allow them to run free.
Now I’m a big fan of dogs and have two Springer Spaniels, so at this time of year Springer really is in the air, (excuse the pun), when they are allowed off the lead to run and investigate all of the smells that come with Spring.
What I don’t like and in fact would go beyond that and say absolutely detest is dog owners who for some unaccountable reason think it is alright to ignore it when their dog or dogs squat and crap everywhere.
Would they just leave it if the animal did it in their front room?
It is a strange approach and attitude by dog owners who lets face it in the vast majority of cases treat their dogs as part of the family.
It does make you wonder how their children or relatives behave when you see them ignore the dog fouling of their four legged family members.
It isn’t only that dog fouling – or let’s call it what it is – dog shit – is anti social but it is also damaging to the environment which brings me back to Orley Common in the Spring.
What is it that makes some dog owners think it’s acceptable to leave their ‘dog offerings’ to just lie where it falls on the footpaths, woods and wild flower beds on the Common?
It isn’t just unpleasant.
It’s disgusting habit.
Orley Common is maintained by Teignmouth Council, who it has to be said do a brilliant job assisted by volunteers who want to see the Common thrive for future generations to enjoy.
Give a moments thought to those people who suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves covered in dog poo when clearing the common.
Or children playing and stepping in the stuff.
Or even other dog owners finding that their own dogs have ‘rolled’ in it.
Now as if that isn’t bad enough we see the new and only recently introduced new species of tree on the Common which has joined the oak, birches, beech and the rest.
I’m talking of course about the ‘poo bag tree’
I’m not, and would never claim to be an expert on trees and the evolution of trees, but it is a fascinating, though odious turn of nature that plastic bags of different colours now seem to have taken up residency and not only that but they have also developed the ability to fill themselves with ‘animal excrement.’
Some of the bags have even, would you believe it, even taken to having the branding of well know high street supermarkets.
I suppose every little helps.
Still not to worry, because at least we have the scientific knowledge that the bags will decompose.
OK it’ll take 500 or so years, but when you consider that from Orley Common you can see Denbury Mound where people lived over 3,500 years ago the timescales don’t seem to bad to those who promote the ‘poo bag trees’
Yes sarcasm allied to cynicism is a form of wit that many may find unacceptable but it is better than the rage that comes from the disgusting habit of those dog owners who leave their dogs doo-doo where it lies or even bag it up and hang it on a tree or throw it into the hedges.
And anyway, why an earth would you take the time and effort to go and buy dog poo bags, some are even scented, take them with you, pick up your dogs poo and then rather than carry it and deposit it in the bins provided decide to hang the bag on a tree.
What an earth must be going through mind of dog owners who do that?
Is it some form of dog poo dementia?
In my view it’s a combination of sheer idleness, contempt for others who use the Common and a psychological imperfection that is the cause of the problem.
What it isn’t is the fault of the dogs.
So please, pick it up, deposit where it’s supposed to be deposited and don’t be a member the of that exclusive club of disgusting people who own one of the almost nine million dogs in the UK who are blighting not only our countryside but also our streets.
As for Orley Common – it is a fantastic place to visit, just watch where you are stepping and look out for the ‘dog poo bag trees’.