The Waterfront development is home to a lot of dogs of all shapes and sizes. Where they 'do their business' and how much responsibility and care their owners take over cleaning up after them is a topic guaranteed to set the Waterfront Community Facebook site ablaze!
The vast majority of dog owners do a good job of clearing up after their dogs but the anti-social behaviour of a few, causes a lot of upset to those who tread in dog dirt or whose children do. While rare, contact with dog excrement can cause Toxocariasis, an infection caused by roundworm parasites. Humans can catch it from handling soil or sand contaminated with infected animal faeces. It is most common in young children because they are more likely to come into contact with contaminated soil when they play and then put their hands in their mouths.
The impact of the irresponsible minority is obvious to all, except perhaps themselves. However, it is not just those who don't clean up at all who cause problems. There are others who, although they clean up, seem to assume this allows them to their dogs use people's front gardens, the green spaces outside the blocks of flats and paths opposite home entrances as as a toilet. When challenged by home owners, they often excuse their behaviour with the usual platitudes such as "It's what dogs do" or "I'm picking it up - what's the problem?"
The frustrations of residents have centred on two main issues:
The overflowing bins in the open spaces full of 'Poo bags'.
The perceived inaction of the Vale of Glamorgan Council in taking any enforcement action against the selfish few who let their dogs foul in our neighbourhood. (In Council controlled streets and parks, dog owners who break the law face a £100 penalty or a court appearance appearance which can result in a £1000 fine).
What are we doing?
We have worked with Remus to get them to change the subcontractor they were using to empty the bins (or rather 'not empty them!) They have now sub-contracted the Vale of Glamorgan Council to empty the bins. This of course causes some annoyance to those who see it as the Council's job in the first place but this is not the case. The open spaces where the bins are located are not owned or controlled by the Council under the agreements we all signed when buying our homes.
We continue to inform residents about the position of the Council in relation to the open spaces and streets on the development so they understand that the Council cannot carry out enforcement in these areas under present arrangements.
What we have achieved?
The bins are now being emptied regularly as Remus has changed sub contractor.
The Council provided signage for the main play area to remind dog walkers to keep out of it.
We are considering how the minority of irresponsible dog owners might be nudged into considering the impact their dog ownership has on others.