Vigilante justice may be frowned upon, but it must seem a million times more appealing when you’ve just stepped in a pile of dog mess in your socks.
That’s what happened to Sue Jenkins, otherwise known as the caped crusader of Pevensey Bay, who – disillusioned with the powers that be – took matters into her own hands and set up her own dog poo bin outside her house.
A drastic measure? Perhaps.
But her actions have certainly highlighted a stinking issue.
Everyone can relate to that sinking just-made-your-day-worse feeling of realising you’ve stepped in a dollop of the brown stuff.
It is an issue as old as time, a blight on our pavements and – quite frankly – our way of life. Did you know the nation’s canines produce approximately 1,000 tonnes of waste a day?
Thank goodness the majority of it is cleared up, but those who do not can face fines of between £50-£80 on the spot. But the culprits are rarely caught in the act.
As someone who has dogs myself, I have a poo bag in literally every handbag and most pockets. It may seem weird to someone who doesn’t own dogs, but the things just seem to manifest everywhere; they multiply.
So I find it hard to comprehend how an owner can ‘forget’ to bring one while out and about with their pooch. But rest assured, if someone strolling past me does forget, I am more than happy to chase them and thrust one in their forgetful hands.
As Sue rightly pointed out, most dog owners are responsible, but it’s the small minority who let the side down and give us all a bad name.
I think the reason behind it is a mix of laziness, selfishness, and the inability from some people to comprehend their cute little fluffball is actually an animal with basic needs which aren’t always the most glamorous to tend to.
But I also believe dog fouling is to some extent a cultural thing – I was lucky enough to visit Dubrovnik last summer and, in the beautiful Old Town with its smooth reflective cobble streets, a dog peed. Quick as a flash, the owner whipped out a paper towel and cleaned it up.
I have never witnessed someone clean up dog pee before, but if they can be that conscientious in Croatia, the people of East Sussex can certainly deign to clean up when their dog does a poop.
Come on, people.
And if that gentle encouragement doesn’t work, perhaps we can take another lesson from Dubrovnik, where the hugely popular television show Game of Thrones was filmed.
One of the show’s most memorable scenes has a character being paraded through the streets as punishment, with a stern woman following behind gonging a bell and chanting ‘shame, shame, shame...’
Maybe I’ll do that the next time someone doesn’t clean up after their dog.