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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Hove Lawns or Hove Shittery? How Green Is My Council?

It may be snowing, it may be windy, it may just be a cold day. But in my city of 250 000 people the 50 000 dogs (at a guess) have to shit somewhere. But not in their owners' kitchens or back gardens. No, they have to shit in public - on the pavements, in the parks, on the sea promenade, on the beach ...

A favourite place is Hove Lawns, a  grassed area parallel to the seafront. All day long, a procession of people attached to dogs make their way there. Some walk, many come in cars and park up in side streets. Often they are attached to two or three dogs - it's fashionable to have several.

Cross the road, take the dogs off the lead - and off they go to shit.

Hove Lawns is also an area where parents take their children and where outdoor Keep Fit classes are held. I wonder how many of the fitness people realise that doing their press ups they are pressing their faces into dog shit.

I guess Hove Lawns has served as a convenient shittery for decades. But there are no signs warning parents and exercisers that the soil is contaminated. That might start people thinking about the Council's priorities.

As for the notion that dog owners are conscientious shit pickers - well, some are and some aren't. And when it's snowing or raining or their dogs have diahorrea - well, they aren't.

It would be surprising if they were. When a handful of people keep dogs - shepherds, blind people, the police - they cause no problem and are an asset to society. When half the population feels that a dog is an essential life-style accessory, dog keeping becomes profoundly anti-social. And dog owners know it. They just don't care very much. Let the Council deal with the shit.

The legal ban on Smoking in enclosed public spaces has transformed the quality of daily life. It's the single most successful piece of Quality of Life legislation in my lifetime. Perhaps in a couple of decades, people will realise that their Quality of Life could also be improved by banning dogs from all public green spaces, parks, promenades and beaches. Pavements too?

But I don't think Brighton and Hove's "Green" Council will lead the way.

1 comment:

  1. OK, but I'm not sure we can have it both ways, you constantly argue that as a retired self-supporting academic you have a right to demand a reasonable quality of life in the area in which you now live and pay your council tax, but you are also a libertarian in that you are sceptical about more state intervention and yet you are resolutley 'doggist'and are presumably asking for more controls on dog owners.

    When does one peson's freedom implode on another's rights, I'm with you as a self confessed 'doggist', I have a prejudice against dog owners and I much prefer to visit friends where the newly acquired Fido does not jump up, I don't know, I'd like a society in which there were fewer pet dogs (or dangerous) as opposed to working dogs, how does a libertarian society legislate