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Dog mess – the perennial countryside management issue. Some people love dogs, others don’t, but all unite in disliking dog mess. No really, they do. Even the most ardent dog-lover can’t admit to liking the stuff. Well, anyway, if they do, the Ranger doesn’t want to hear anything about that.
Country parks and nature reserves are popular haunts of what rangers call the ‘dog emptiers’. These are people who drive up, let the dog out to run about like a mad thing, and then once the dog is emptied, call it reluctantly back and drive off. Hardly much fun for the dog, and worse for the poor blighter who then treads in what the dog left behind. Whilst such antisocial types are extreme, they are a lot more common than you’d think. Many more are almost as bad, walking perhaps 100m at most from the car park to allow their poor dog to squeeze out a steaming pile before it’s hustled back into the boot of the car. Why have a dog at all if you’re not going to walk it? It seems so harsh to take a dog to the countryside – in a car, it’s always in a car – and then not let the poor creature enjoy the place. Campaigns to ‘Bag it and Bin it’, backed up by fines, patrols, on-the-spot fines, free poop-scoops, dog bins, wardens, dog-free areas, bye-laws… it’s all been tried. And yet the problem remains. Today the Ranger got the bill for emptying the dog bins at a popular countryside site he works on.