……You’ve Gotten Me Into
I grew up in a world where dog fouling was taken for granted: tolerated. It seemed that there wasn’t an area of grassland or pavement that didn’t have a little pile of feces just waiting for the unsuspecting boot or shoe. Teams of boys would play football or rugby on school playing fields as packs of dogs would roam the perimeter doing what dogs do without any supervision. Indeed dogs were treated very much like cats in those days, being turned out in the morning and left to their own devices for the rest of the day. I remember quite distinctly finding myself slipping and sliding in the ‘stuff’ as I played on those fields or ran home from school. Once home my football boots had to be cleaned thoroughly and my hands scrubbed to the bone, yet that disgusting smell was never far away. People would check the bottom of their shoes as soon as that familiar disgusting smell might be detected in a room leading to whoops of hilarity from those unaffected. This was an era when the last thing one may consider would be the health of people, especially children: the diseases that may be contracted by coming into direct contact with dog feces. All of this, ironically, at a time when dog licensing was mandatory, though largely ignored, being finally abolished in 1987 when the annual fee was 37p. Today dogs are supposed to be chipped, closely controlled, inspected for fleas and wormed on a regular basis. The sales of poo bags have gone through the roof, as one might suspect, given the penalties for unchecked fouling would make more ‘keepers’ think twice before leaving a mess behind. Officially ‘Councils can issue fixed penalty orders in relation to dog control orders. Where there is no local rate, the fixed penalty is £75. In very serious cases, magistrates can issue a maximum penalty of £1,000’. It’s worth remembering too that not everyone is a lover of dogs.