CALLS for dog walkers to leave their dog’s poo without picking it up could be damaging, according to an industry-leading canine association.
A campaign was set up this month by a dog owner who is urging others to ditch their plastic bags and simply leave their dog’s in a bid to cut down on single-use plastics.
Carina Evans launched the campaign at Crufts 2023.
However, the Professional Association of Canine Trainers (PACT) is urging dog owners to do the opposite and says the advice could be doing more harm than good.
They say that while they support the reduction in the use of single-use plastics, the result of leaving the poo to decompose can cause a host of issues to the natural environment.
Natalie Light, one of the directors at PACT has a degree in zoology and worked for almost a decade with the local Wildlife Trust on projects aiming to minimise the impact of dog walking on ecology.
She said: ‘While we know this campaign came from a good place and Carina is absolutely right in cracking down on single-use plastics, the approach needs to be different. Not only is dog poo gross to step in, but it can also have serious environmental implications for the plants that grow there and the grazing livestock.
‘For example, dog poo contains a high level of nutrients that can significantly alter local habitats. Wildflower meadows, for example, thrive in low nutrient environments, and over time may transition to becoming grass monoculture, reducing ecology and the quality of the environment for humans.’
Dog poo can contain pesticides, which could cause damage to the local ecology if left.
There is also a risk posed to humans, as dog poo can contain viruses which can be harmful to humans, such as toxocariasis, which could increase hazards to other humans in the area.
PACT believes that condoning one form of littering will encourage other littering and could lead to an increase in rubbish on the streets and in sensitive environments.
Jason Light, another director at PACT is a chartered environmentalist and said: ‘The real response to this issue is to change human behaviour and encourage people to pick up the poo and put it in a bin. There are also perfectly good compostable bags on the market which will degrade should one be dropped, or someone accidentally leaves a poo in one in a sensitive location. Instead of campaigning for the opposite of picking up poo, we would suggest the energy would be better focused on banning non-compostable poo bags.’
For more information, go to PACT’s website.