Any guesses about the most popular topic of complaint that comes through the Highways and Open Spaces committee? If you guessed dog poo, you’d be spot on. It’s a common problem for all parish councils. It’s a particular issue for us at Sharpham Road playing fields and we’ve even had a letter from a visiting sports team saying they won’t come back because of the amount of dog poo on the pitches. In Cheddar we used to supply free dog poo bags from dispensers at key locations. Sadly, every time they were topped up, someone would come along and grab the lot within a short space of time, making it a useless and costly service to offer, so we stopped it. After discussions with Sedgemoor Clean Surroundings, all our village bins will now accept regular rubbish and bagged dog waste, and we have added around a dozen new bins in the last couple of years. We hear there are still places were people are tying poo bags to trees though, and there are a few more locations we hope to place bins in coming months. However a new bin recently installed by Fiveways Bridge at Wood End Terrace, was vandalised within two weeks of installation and has had to be removed, so this sort of behaviour doesn’t help. Of course there are plenty of responsible dog owners in Cheddar but it only takes a handful who aren’t, to give dog owners a bad name.
The answer? Well, encouraging others to have respect for the place they live in, to pick up after their dogs, bin their waste or take it home, and not to abuse street furniture would help a lot. Some people walk several dogs together and maybe this should be limited – some councils only allow a maximum of four. Perhaps we need a “dogs on leads only” rule on parish property. Or maybe we need to pay for our own full time dog warden? Plenty of options to consider. Meantime if you know of any locations that really need a waste bin, please drop an email to the Parish Clerk.