Lambrok Meadow is full of dog waste; people seem to drive to the bottom of the car park, let their dogs straight out into the field and then just walk away while the dog defecates in the grass. It is impossible to walk in the field without walking in dog poop.
Southwick Country Park is a public space, a resource for our families and for local schools. It comes under the same rules as the Town Park and should be open and accessible for everybody to enjoy – but we have had complaints from people because they get dog poop on their clothes and shoes.
Nobody wants to limit anybody’s access to the park but the selfishness of some dog walkers is doing just that; there are families who no longer bring their children here because of the dog poop.
Max, photographed this morning while walking his human in Village Green. He is a Bavarian Munsterlander crossed with, of all things, a Shar Pei: very, very large, very friendly, not as wrinkly as you might expect.
Who does this? Who wraps their dog’s faeces up in a green plastic bag and then throws it into the trees next to the path alongside Lambrok Meadow? There are bins specifically for dogs’ faeces at each end of that stretch of path and a bin for general rubbish somewhere in the middle.
What do they think will happen to their dangling green bag of poop? Who do they think clears it up? The Friends of SCP clear it up; that’s who.
We should be braver; all of us should be brave enough to say something when we see fellow park users do stuff like this. We should be polite and non-confrontational and, for the sake of the park, we should ask people to clean up properly after their dogs.
A newish hazard for dogs is Alabama Rot Disease which is caught from walking in muddy woody areas. Not a lot appears to be known about it, but it is a very dangerous disease that can lead to kidney failure.
Tomorrow is the second Wednesday of the month: a work party day. Come and join us; we meet at 9.30am in the main car park and we work until midday. Bring thornproof gloves, sturdy footwear and a coffee mug. Looking forward to meeting you.
This is the second in our series of posts about scooping dog poop in the park; the pun in the title is intentional.
Most of the park’s fields are let to a local farmer who takes two cuts of grass from them each year. That crop is sold on, as hay or silage, mostly to feed horses and farm animals. Some of it, though, will end up in your gardens in rabbit and guinea pig cages. If the hayfields are contaminated with dog faeces, so is the hay.
Dogs are part of the life cycle of two parasitic organisms that cause diseases, neosporosis and sarcocystosis, in farm animals. 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.
The prevalence of neosporosis and sarcocystosis in dogs and farm animals is unknown in the UK, but it is thought to be common and very much under-reported. As there is no effective vaccination or treatment for either, vets recommend avoidance: don’t feed your pet raw meat and don’t leave dog faeces on agricultural land.
Most of the park is agricultural land, producing animal feed; please clean up after your dog.
This is the second post of a spring campaign; let’s keep our park poop-free.
Children get toxocariasis when they are infected with the eggs of roundworms (Toxocara canis) from the faeces of dogs. The infection happens when the child gets soil or sand contaminated with faeces into its mouth. Once the eggs are inside the child’s digestive tract, they move into the bowel where they hatch into larvae.
The larvae burrow through the wall of the intestine and through the soft tissues to, most commonly, the lungs, liver, eyes, and brain, where they can cause symptoms that range from a mild fever to blindness (don’t click this link if you are squeamish).
It’s hard to tell how many of these infections cause illness, but research in the USA, at the turn of the century, found that 13.9% of children aged upwards of 6 years had Toxocara canis antibodies in their blood, which showed that they had been infected at some time in their lives. Similar research in Sri Lanka found a 50% incidence.
In the park we have a combination of children and dogs that makes it particularly important that we are vigilant. Almost every dog will get roundworms at some time in its life and, at any one time, about 20% of dogs are infected. This means that one in every five dogs that comes into the park will bring with it mature roundworms, each one of which can lay 200,000 eggs every day, for a rolling, tumbling, thumb-sucking toddler to put in his mouth.
People are very careful about picking up on the central path and we are grateful, but some are less conscientious when their dogs poop in the grass, which is, of course, where our children play. Please clean up after your dog. Toxocara eggs are not infectious for the first 10–12 days so you are in no danger as you poop-scoop, but they can live in the soil and be infectious for many, many years afterwards if you don’t scoop.
This is the first post of a spring campaign; let’s keep our park poop-free.