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No Harm, No Foul: Lockdown Puppies and Dog Waste.

The pandemic brings a dramatic rise in pet adoption and fostering worldwide as Canada, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Iceland and the Netherlands, among others, register spikes.*

Puppy being carried by his owner - in 2020-21 12 million dogs in UK homes - increase in dog ownership since lockdown

As social isolation took hold in 2020, many of us turned to our pets for companionship. Restricted to necessary travel only and reverting to social interaction via digital screens, we sought out our dogs to provide exercise, fresh air and a much-needed friendly face. But the dramatic increase in pets has a potential issue: dog waste.

Regarded as a sign of responsible dog ownership, collecting and correctly disposing of dog foul is not merely a kind community gesture but a legal requirement, punishable by on-the-spot fines ranging from €150 in Ireland to $275 in Brisbane, Australia to €1000 in the French town of Obernai.* Yet, the unsightly issue remains a problem. With some countries exercising new laws to tackle the issue and others threatening attraction closure if the problem persists, we explore the steps governments, communities, and organisations are taking to confront it and how, together, we can better equip ourselves moving forward.*

Health Issues


It is unsightly, and it smells, but is that the only causality of dog foul? In short, no. Dog waste can have adverse effects on our health and the health of other animals. Carrying E-coli and parasites, dog foul has the capability of causing sickness, toxocariasis and even blindness and, for babies and toddlers exploring their newly found terrain blissfully unaware of danger and hazards, this possibility increases.

child playing with their pet dog

So, how do we raise awareness as to the potential for harmful health issues?

Inclusion in Advertising Material and Campaigns

Including the harmful effects of dog foul in campaigns is a helpful way to begin. Many organisations, including The City of Yellowknife, Canada, run campaigns and advertisements to highlight the harmful health effects of dog waste, along with its environmental impacts. Through their Scoop the Poop programme, they educate dog owners on the hazardous effects of dog faeces, reiterating the Environmental Protection Agency's placement of dog waste and oil spills in the same category.

The Proud of You campaign, run by the government of Jersey, has a similar message, stating how and why dog owners should pick up pet waste.

Inclusion in Manufacturer Designs

As a manufacturer, Glasdon builds opportunities to support campaign messages into a variety of products.

Featuring personalised graphics or campaign posters, both litter and dog waste stations can promote the harmful effects of dog fouling. By adopting personalised poster frames, the bins can showcase content about the hazardous potential of dog waste. A principle suitable to promote campaign slogans, such as the New Zealand volunteer campaigner’s 'Poo Off Our Paths', can be adapted to reinforce the public health message attached to dog foul.

Dog Owner's Responsibilities


Walkies, food, and love; the only essential responsibilities of dog ownership, right? Wrong. Frequently under-advertised, the responsibilities of dog ownership extend far beyond our average understanding of such and, when not known, can have harmful consequences for our dogs, the environment, and ourselves. But organisations are attempting to correct the knowledge gap.

Dog walking couple in woodland area

Penning a Responsible Dog Ownership Guide, The City of Vancouver provides in-depth guidance on everything from licencing dogs to picking up after pets.

Several organisations, such as the Legal Services Commision of South Australia, also have similar guides listing the duties of dog owners.

Visibility and Accessibility of Dog Waste Facilities


Education and understanding are vital components to become responsible dog owners but, without visible and accessible litter bins and pet waste stations, it will only solve part of the issue. The type of waste, its placement, and clear signage are vital in helping responsible dog owners solve this issue.

Dog waste bin in Stannah, Lancashire

Type of Waste Bin

Due to the harmful effects of dog excrement, a litter bin or dog waste bins must have the capability to hold waste efficiently and hygienically.

For dog waste stations, metal chute systems and detachable bodies are the easiest methods to achieve this. Easily maintainable and cleaned, these ensure efficient upkeep while also trapping unwanted odours inside.

An adapted litter bin can also function as a dog waste station. Highlighting its dual purpose by adding clear signage and exploring the optional alternative of a closed aperture flap, litter bins can also fulfil the requirements of dog waste disposal.

Glasdon waste bin split graphic and aperture flap

Due to their usual location in parks, coastal footpaths, bridleways, and other outdoor areas with high footfalls and hardened weather, fitting a durable and vandal-resistant waste station is an ideal solution. Available in various capacities and with or without post-mounting, the product you choose may feature a self-returning lid, protecting the community by ensuring all contents remain inside. Our guide on How to Choose a Dog Waste Bin is available to aid in selecting a waste station.

Placement and Signage

Being able to actively find a dog waste station is perhaps the most vital element of effectively disposing of dog waste. Mounting the waste stations and adding easily identifiable graphics and colour schemes to display their function will enhance visibility, and positioning them on busy pathways frequented by dog walkers will increase accessibility.

Post and Wall Mounting Fixings for Dog Waste Bins

Alternative solutions for areas with less space to house multiple assortments of waste stations would be to explore the options of standard decals available for litter bins. With options for split graphics for dog waste and trash, these images create a dual-functioning litter bin without demanding extra room. Personalised images can highlight the function of the litter bins and make disposing of dog waste and trash clearer.

Glasdon waste bin with 'bin it' graphics

Assisted by local communities and councils and in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy, Dogs Trust UK's 'Walk This Way' campaign uses signs, stickers and route markers to highlight bin positions and ensure their accessibility. By involving its participants, the campaign enhances bin visibility and encourages responsible dog ownership. When ran in conjunction with 15 local authorities, the programme saw a 40% decrease in dog fouling across the sites.*

Moving Forward


From Zoom adeptness and mental health prioritisation to the reaffirmation that dogs are a man’s best friend, the lockdown has taught us a lot. But perhaps no lesson has been more important than the realisation that teamwork and collective thinking are the way forward and applicable to every situation, even dog waste.

With the issue of dog waste persisting, this communal approach is as important as ever. Moving forward, and in conjunction with organisations and communities, we can work together to educate dog owners about the possible harm irresponsible ownership can cause while providing visible and accessible dog waste facilities.

Resources

Responsible Dog Ownership -

Duties of Dog Owners

A Dog's Guide to Living in the City

Healthy Pets, Healthy People

Guide to Responsible Dog Ownership


Dog Waste Bin Help -

How to Choose a Dog Waste Bin Guide


Campaigns -

'Walk This Way'

'Proud of You'

'Poo Off Our Paths'

'Remember If They Poop, You Scoop'

'The Poop Fairy'



References

*https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/article-year-of-the-dog-in-2020-furry-friends-were-just-what-we-needed-to-make/
*https://skk.se/sv/nyheter/2020/6/allt-fler-skaffar-hund/
*https://www.thelocal.com/20210122/dog-days-germany-sees-extreme-demand-for-pups-during-pandemic/
*https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/health-wellbeing/australian-pounds-record-spike-in-animals-as-coronavirus-lockdown-eases-c-1104986
*https://theeuropatimes.com/dog-ownership-increased-during-pandemic/
*https://www.houdenvanhonden.nl/globalassets/raadar/2020/rvb_raadar_2020_10_mei.pdf
*https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/pets-are-helping-us-cope-during-the-pandemic
*https://www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/1e785c-dog-control/
*https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/community-and-safety/pets-and-livestock/keeping-a-pet-in-brisbane/breaches-and-fines
*https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Bas-Rhin-French-town-mayor-imposes-minimum-1-000-fine-for-dog-mess-or-littering
*https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/07/16/tel-aviv-wants-to-use-dog-poo-dna-tests-to-catch-and-fine-careless-pet-owners
*https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/otago-racecourse-cries-foul-over-dog-poo/KTQD2Y5DRBIEA2HKEF3SUAOC44/
*https://www.yellowknife.ca/en/living-here/resources/Scoop-Poop/City-of-YK-Scoop-Poop-Outdoor-Signs---Updated-.pdf
*https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/latest/issues-campaigns/dog-fouling/

Monday, August 23, 2021

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