Here’s a post from Sarah to add to the dog discussion.
A few times I have approached people who haven’t picked up their dog poo and just left it in the middle of the field. They’ve explained to me, “There’s no point picking it up if it’s just in the grass and not on the pathways.”
And I explain to them that when the grass gets long enough, it is cut, baled and made in to hay for animal feed. Everyone I have spoken to about this has told me they had absolutely no idea that this happened.
I used to keep horses and have seen so many problems over the years where horses have either eaten poo bags that have been tangled up in amongst their hay or have ingested so much dog poo that it’s made them ill needing veterinary intervention.
Obviously it’s not just horses that get fed the hay from your fields but I feel not many people understand what happens to the grass once it’s cut – including all the dog poo in amongst it. Sometimes, I would like to ask them if they would feed their dog on food with poo in it, if they would feed their family food with poo in it. Why should we feed our livestock and pet rabbits food with poo and poo bags in it because they aren’t conscientious enough to pick up after their dogs.
I’ve seen your note on the main gate about responsible dog ownership. Have you considered if it would be worth adding a note about the fact that the grass is turned to animal feed so to please pick up after your dog? It might help some people understand a bit more rather than thinking it’s just a field of grass. I think educating folk is definitely the way to go, otherwise it all tends to fall on deaf ears.
Dogs are part of the life cycle of organisms that cause diseases in farm animals: neosporosis and sarcocystosis. In dogs, they rarely cause symptoms, are hard to diagnose and almost impossible to treat, but the parasites’ eggs will be present in the dogs’ faeces. In cattle or sheep who become infected by eating feed contaminated by faeces, these parasites can induce abortion, cause neurological problems, and even result in the death of the animal. Sarcocystosis and neosporosis are caused by the same organisms that, in horses, can cause equine protozoal meningitis.