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Don't be bone idle - pick it up!

PUBLISHED: 17:04 02 September 2010 | UPDATED: 09:50 16 September 2010

DOG mess is revolting, stinking and vile. Allowing a dog to poo in the street is no more acceptable than a man urinating in a shop doorway. But Dodge the Nasty Pile is a game we all have to play as we navigate our way gingerly along paths and lanes.

DOG mess is revolting, stinking and vile. Allowing a dog to poo in the street is no more acceptable than a man urinating in a shop doorway. But Dodge the Nasty Pile is a game we all have to play as we navigate our way gingerly along paths and lanes.

Let children run around any park - even parks with in-your-face “Dogs Banned” signs at every entrance - and nine times out of 10 they end up with one or more foot dirtied by doggy-dos.

It's easier to catch a dog fouling a path than a man peeing in public, but there are fewer prosecutions.

Yet we have to spend horrible hours scrubbing shoes, bike and pram wheels and car mats because bone-idle owners couldn't be bothered to pick it up.

Just because it comes out of little Fluffy Wuffy doesn't mean it's not disgusting. How can owners stand holding the dog's lead as it defecates on the public pavement then just walk on?

PICK IT UP! It's disgusting.

But for some owners the world outside their doorsteps is a big doggy toilet. They wouldn't dream of letting Fido leave a deposit in their own back yard, but a pavement outside someone else's house is fine.

Despite warning signs and threats of £1,000 fines, the problem has got no better in decades.

Toddler Amiee Langdon faces losing her sight because of an infection she caught from dog mess in a public park.

She fell into it and wiped her eye in a Manchester park. Despite quick treatment by her mother, a nurse, she developed toxocariasis, which can lead to blindness.

But still some owners' consciences won't be pricked.

I watched a woman and her son let their dog relieve itself on the patch of grass by the pedestrian crossing in Bevan Street, Lowestoft, a couple of Saturdays ago.

I challenged them to pick it up. The woman looked sheepish, claiming she had run out of poo bags and would return later. It was still there three hours later.

The law needs to come down harder on dog owners. They shouldn't just face a fine: they should be forced on poo-cleaning duty and sent to notorious “dog poo alleys” and made to clear them.

And it's not just an urban issue. Dog owners seem to think the countryside is a poo free-for-all. “If cows and horses can do it, why can't my dog?” is the argument I've heard many times on my Broadland walk.

If everyone let their dogs relieve themselves on my riverside walk, there would be more poo than path.

Owning a dog requires responsibility plus the insurance, social conscience and sense to go with it - and the penalties. Otherwise, more children like Amiee will be maimed for life - not by dogs but by their owners.

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