Poo under review

We know that the BC community is currently busy analysing Lewisham Councillors' outside interests for evidence of why Brockley doesn't get its "fair share" of Council money, so we apologise for dwelling on the dog-poo stencil issue, but this is the last time we'll write about it for a while.

Earlier in the week, the thrust of opinion seemed to be:

1. There are too many of the dog-poo stencils on our streets
2. The dog-poo prevention strategy ought to focus a little more on punishing offending owners and less on punishing our pavements
3. At the very least, the depiction of an actual steaming turd was an unnecessary debasement of the public realm

Cllr Sue Luxton took up these points with the Council officer responsible and got this response:

When we get the new stencils done we can look at getting the poo designed out. I'll have to contact the Safer Neighbourhood Teams as I wasn't aware that they were spraying any stencils for us. When people have been spraying them on our behalf we have had the graffiti team go out and talk to them about how and where, including sensitivities, the stencils should be placed. I will however, talk to the graffiti team and ask them to be mindful of how many they are putting down in the conservation areas.
With regards to the Dog Control Orders, we haven't as yet implemented them but they will be published soon.

So while cynicism rages on other threads, it's nice to see that the Council is prepared to listen and respond to community concerns and that our Councillors are working to raise these issues on our behalf.

25 comments:

Comment said...

Nick, whilst this is a positive move. I think it's all short term, the long term solution is regulated dog ownership in urban areas. But better than nowt.

oryx said...

She hasn't addressed point 2) at all.

I don't give a steaming pile of poo about what's in the council's pavement stencils, but I do care that there are still piles of the stuff appearing on the pavements daily.

Howsabout signs saying how much offenders (or should I say offenders' owners) will be fined, and some enforcement?

I can see it's not an easy problem to resolve, but the stencils appear worse than useless.

A said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A said...

What was wrong with my comment...?

Brockley Nick said...

A - you tell us - you deleted it yourself. Perhaps you were subconsciously ashamed of your own facetiousness?

A said...

Oh dear.

Ha, never ashamed of facetiousness. The sunshine brings it out in me.

I was expressing amusement that the sensibilities of the conservation area residents are considered so dainty (or their indignation so great?) that the content of the poo stencils there gets extra special consideration. Funniest thing I've learned in ages.

Brockley Nick said...

Well I don't think the plan is to create a special stencil for the conservation area, that would indeed be ridiculous. The plan is to create a new one for all of Lewisham's streets. It's simply that the conservation areas have been bearing the brunt of the stencilling of late...

Anonymous said...

The idea of the conservation area, some of its residents passion for the rules, and the act of the dog stencils sums up a lot of things that are wrong with the attitudes of Londoners.

Brockley Nick said...

Could you be more specific, anon?

Comment said...

I'd be most interested to hear the specifics of this person's complaint. Frankly I suspect there isn't anything specific and it's just random moaning.

Anonymous said...

I think the 'poo thing' is interesting, not as a reflection of the attitude of residents but an indication of an issue that the Council likes to deal with and be public about.

Why is this?

Because it is unquantifiable. The only statistics they will be able to offer are the number of convictions of people who have allowed their dogs to deposit ordure and not attempted to clear it up. They will not be able to produce a flow-chart of how the incidence of dog-stools have increased or decreased, and if they do, do we really want Council employees combing the streets with clipboards noting the evidence (and being schooled by expensive consultants to identify the difference between dog and fox excreta)?

But the Council are more than happy to create a diversion among the brockley twittering classes so they can go on with the more important job of knocking down the few remaining heritage buildings in Lewisham and replace them with rubbish architecture built by Barratts.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon, that's fanciful nonsense. The issue is easily measurable - the council gets more complaints about dog mess than just about any other issue. Complaints go down, it's a very good indicator that new policies are working.

As for it being some kind of distraction, some of us are capable of juggling two or more thoughts at the same time.

The guy was asked a straight question and gave a straight answer. No conspiracy there.

Crofton Parker said...

I would not be surprised if complaints about poo have plummeted since the stencils - in my darker moments (brought on every time I come across one of the yellow perils on the pavement) I suspect the only reason they could have been introduced is to make us all long for the good old days of poo. Which nasty though it was could be cleaned away. Unlike the stencils. O poo, how could I ever have thought you were bad...

Anonymous said...

The number of complaints to the Council about dog fouling only give us a statistic for the number of complaints, they don't give any indication that dog fouling may be more or less prevalent - to use a statistic in that way would be misleading, but statistics are often used to mislead rather than to inform.

As far as you know it could be one person complaining lots of times (you do have to be a little distracted to want to complain about dog fouling anyway).

Bit like all these anonymous people, you just never know who they are any more than someone who assumes an identity - and every comment is as relevant or irrelevant as any other, regardless of self-assumed status.

Anonymous said...

Indeed - who DOES complain about dog poo anyway? The sort of person who complains about TV shows as well probably.

They may then see the stencils and think "its being dealt with, I won't complain" even if they see the same amount of or more poo.

cheese cake said...

perhaps terry can host a pooints of view show for them

Headhunter said...

Is it just me or was there a lot more dog poo around in the 1980s? As a youngster I seem to remember there being a small pile on just about every street corner... I remember going out and my mum forever warning me not to step in dog poo. Or perhaps that was just in Luton. And whatever happened to those strange white dog poos you used to see in the 80s? You just don't see then nowadays...

Crofton Parker said...

Yes, that white poo - sort of fossilised poo. Haven't seen that for decades.

Anonymous said...

Dog poo is absolutely disgusting and the COuncil is quite right to be making an issue of it. People who have dogs have duty to clean up after them. End of story.

Sian said...

I went to a discussion in London on Pledgebanks recently and the issue of dog poo was used as an example of how community pledging might be used to improve an unsatisfactory situation. It was widely agreed by all present that if you were the kind of person who left your dog's mess lying, you were unlikely to be the kind of person to pledge that from now on you would clear it up. But for the people who were frustrated at all the dog mess on the street there were two potential pledges: Pledge One - to carry some bags and give one to any dog owner they saw leaving the dog's mess behind, requesting firmly but politely that they clear it up. Pledge Two - to carry the bags and clear up any dog's mess that they saw, even though they had no formal responsibility for it. As you can imagine this led to a lively debate about how far individuals can and should go in taking action about things which they feel frustrated. Pledge One superficially appears easier but has the potential for unwanted confrontation. Pledge Two is less palatable but immediately solves the problem about the particular "dog mess" in question. Neither guarantees to solve the problem on a broader scale, although Pledge One might have some effect in some cases on the dog owner's future actions. What do BC readers think about this kind of appraoch to community issues - is there any sense in which this might be an option we could consider trying?

Monkeyboy said...

I'm still up for the butt plug and air rifle option.

Anonymous said...

Sian, I understand where you're coming from with the pledges idea and generally, yes, in an office for example, it is right to seek conciliatory consensus based solutions.

HOwever when it cmes to one's responsibilities to neighbours and what amounts to anti social behaviour, the answer is to be tougher, not softer. Why should the law abiding majority again carry the can or in this case the poo bag for the irresponsibile minority.

Give the owner an asbo and have done with it. Fine them. Get serious about it. this is unfortunately the only way that certain members of our society can be trained into better behaviour, havign apparently failed to learn it from their own parents, school or later life.

AT the same time, I truly wish your way would work. It won't. Asking these people will result in abuse and carrying around poo bags will cause a tthe very least resentmenet and outrage about what on earth council tax is paid for!

patrick1971 said...

Fully agree that asking this sort of person nicely won't work. The concept of any form of social contract or responsibility is absolutely foreign to them.

I was coming home on a bus on Sunday evening and a young girl, about 14, got on (what she was doing out unsupervised at 11pm is another issue entirely) and immediately started playing music from her mobile phone. I'd had a few drinks so was a bit more courageous than usual and asked her, quite nicely and politely, to please put her headphones in. She was completely inarticulate and just looked at me in amazement and grunted; she was clearly totally unused to any form of direction and had no concept that she might not have an inalienable right to play her music out loud in a public space. She ended up huffing off to the back of the bus and turning it off, but honestly, the attitude! It is just unreal.

Comment said...

I think it is worth trying Sian. At the very least, if the idea has some strong local publicity behind it, it will kick off wider debate. Currently it seems as though it's only certain sections of society that are concerned with this issue.

Parents care because it's their little ones who are most likely to step in and be affected by it and awful though the effects of Toxocariasis are, it is very rare.
So I suspect the average bod with a dog doesn't give a monkey's as he/she knows that the street cleaners will get rid of it sooner or later. The wider implications of dogs fouling everywhere aren't felt or even considered by some. Public debate could change that.

Sian said...

Thanks for the assorted comments on pledgebank question. I have no strong opinion either way as to whether it could work or whether this is an issue on which it should be trialled but it's an interesting debate - and the slow response is due to absence, not absence of interest!

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