Lockdown has seen a boom in UK dog ownership, which has become a ‘pandemic puppy’ poo problem. Some people pick up the poo but leave the bag on the ground. Others just leave the poo to be trodden on.
Every day you see it and people are talking about it more and more. It is rising up the social agenda as a concerning topic of conversation and is becoming an issue across the UK. How long before councils take further action and letting your dog freely off the lead becomes a thing of the past like in some other countries.
When you break it down further; in 2021 there are 12 million dogs and the same number of cats in the UK. On average a dog deposits 340g of waste a day depending on the size of the dog. That equates approximately to 3,000 tonnes. When you further dissect the bigger picture; many dog owners use poo bags, some of which are not degradable. Just think of the extra land mass fills. Another issue that many people do not think of.
If a dog poos in your home or in the garden, you pick it up immediately. Why not do the same in public?
Why was there a boom in dog ownership over lockdown?
Some argue that people adopted dogs as an excuse to get out and exercise. Others say people thought it would be good to have a dog for the family without researching the different breeds and patience required in training a puppy. Overall, many people have not considered the long-term commitments of having a dog. That is why there has been an increase in the number of new dog owners returning their dogs to shelters.
Lockdown gave people the time to introduce a dog to the family/ household without the pressures of work and daily stress. Makes complete sense.
A giving in to pressure from members of the family to get a dog. If the children do not walk the dog, the responsibility falls onto the parents who are working and have little time as it is. The situation becomes stressful for all including the dog.
Lockdown was a lonely time, so having a puppy or adopting a dog brought happiness to people. Some did not think it through long term. Having a dog is like having a child. It needs attention and to be looked after.
Why is the Poodemic such an issue?
- The Poodemic is such an issue you can sign up on a petition with Dog Foul as well as join their Facebook Group. The slogan is aptly clean up to green up.
- Councils have enough rubbish to clear up. Now the bins are overloaded with dog poo.
- Irresponsible dog owners are not picking up the poo off the streets. Even walking on Wimbledon Common over the Easter weekend, I photographed a poo bag left in the middle of a busy path. Yes, there are few bins on the common, but you have picked it up, at least put it in the bin when you find one.
- Walking on commons, parks, road and sidewalks, you now have to be mindful of not stepping in dog poo. This has certainly got worse since the adoption of pandemic. puppies and dogs. This recent article in The Guardian highlights the issues that people are facing around the country.
- It has got to a point that people will only start listening if there is a fine involved. A shame that a financial penalty of £100 must be enforced.
- This article in the Rocky The Traveller, blog, again outlines the severity of the situation with irresponsible dog owners. This small percentage of people are giving other dog owners a bad reputation. The old phrase of it only take a few is so true!
Health Effects of the Poodemic
- Children play in the undergrowth where poo is just left. Not only is it disgusting to step in and touch by mistake, it is also full of bacteria and is not great for the well-being of young children.
- Other dogs eat the poo left lying about, which is not healthy for them either.
- People sit down and have picnics in parks and commons.
Knock on Effects if the Poodemic is NOT dealt with
- There will be so many complaints that councils will ban dogs from certain areas or be asked that they are kept on the lead. This would be unfair on responsible dog owners as well as the dogs unable to run about freely.
- This would lead to more dogs being given back to shelters as it would be too much of a ‘hassle’.
- Tense situations will become more frequent between dog owners versus non-dog owners. Mothers with small children constantly look out for dog poo when their children are crawling or learning to walk outside. I have seen dogs take food from children as well as ‘raid’ baby buggies for food. Some things can be laughed off, but not picking up after your dog is just too much, and understandably for many.
How Fellow Dog Owners React to Poodemic
“A friend of ours told us how she ran after a dog owner on Clapham Common. The lady was walking with large headphones, paying no attention to her dog and during that time it did a poo in the middle of a busy path. When confronted, the lady said she was going home to get a poo bag. During which time it would have been stepped in. Or was that merely an excuse as our friend did not see the lady notice her dog do its business. Easy to ask for a poo bag on a busy common. Our friendly obligingly handed her a poo bag to pick it up.”
Poodemic Affects Renting with Dogs
- Landlords like many others, walk the streets and visit green spaces. When they see poo ‘littered’ about, in the back of their minds it puts them off allowing pets into their properties. This is unfair on the 99% of tenants renting with their dogs who are responsible.
- According to The Tenants Voice, 78% of pet owners have difficulty in finding a pet friendly rental in the UK. We find at Pets Lets that damage is the biggest concern of landlords have renting to people with dogs. The bigger the dog, the perception is, the more damage the dog could do in the property.
- This article from ARLA raises some of the questions that people renting with dogs ask.
It is certainly not a problem to be sniffed at.
The Poodemic is becoming more and more apparent across the UK. It will turn people against dog owners and put off families from having dogs. This will result in more homeless dogs and deprive children up of growing up with a dog. Research has shown that children benefit from having a pet and people with mental health issues feel ’happier’ stroking a dog or cat.
It would be a real shame if the few dog owners ‘who cannot be bothered’ change the way society looks upon dogs and rules have to be brought in to regulate walking your dog.
How are landlords supposed to become more pet friendly, when they are ‘concerned’ by how responsible some dog owners are. How can you differentiate them? Only when tenants renting with dogs have moved in, will you know, and by then it could be too late and be left with a damaged property.
At the moment, according to Gov.UK, only 7% of landlords are willing to take that risk by accepting pets. With the Poodemic, will the number of pet friendly properties increase or decrease?
This article was written by Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets, a UK pet-friendly property portal offering properties where landlords consider pets. Pets Lets also offers a Specialist Pet Friendly UK Relocation Service finding pet friendly rentals, properties that allow dogs and cats, takes time and can be stressful. Especially when you know your ‘four legged’ friends are getting on a plane soon and you don’t have a home.
For useful advice or to find out more about the UK pet friendly rental market, feel free to join our Pets and Property Tips Facebook Group for helpful professional advice on pets and property.