It’s an eternal truth known to local journalists throughout the UK and, indeed, through the decades: Few stories attract as much interest as ones about dog poo.
Indeed, a quick search of ‘dog fouling’ in Google News – and I would hope that’s a search which has only been conducted once today on Google News – yielded many local news stories about the issue.
In Bourne, Lincolnshire, the local council is supporting one man’s crusade against mucky dog owners (because we all know it’s not the dogs to blame). In the Shetlands, the local council has described fouling as ‘absolutely disgusting’ and launched new patrols to ‘clamp down’ on it. In Portsmouth, a new dog fouling ‘hot spot’ has been identified. In East Anglia, St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils have come under fire for not issue a single dog fouling penalty notice in recent years.
The Ipswich Star even launched a campaign on the issue, which resulted in the number of reports of dog fouling tripling (one assumes this is just because more people are reporting the problem, not that the paper’s campaign has led to the council) while the Cornishman reported on an ex-policeman risking court after refusing to pay his fouling fine. In Edinburgh, the council is considering offering lottery tickets to people seen picking up after their pooches – because clearly it being the right thing to do simply isn’t enough of an incentive.
And that’s just going back a few days on Google News.
But if there was to be an award for the best attempt to breathe new life into coverage of dog fouling in a local paper (and lets be honest, if clearing up after your pup gets you a lottery ticket, surely this is worth an award), then surely it should go the Dover Express:
Look! It’s a man jumping over dog poo! It certainly makes a change from people pointing at the offending mess, or the arty shots of ‘no dog fouling’ signs you see week in, week out.
And what a great kicker for the caption. As for the name Poo Runner … that’s down to Paul Pearson himself:
Paul Pearson, 61, who calls himself “The Poo Runner”, tracks the amount of dog waste on his daily jogging route.
The Branch Street resident said: “I have been doing this for a number of weeks. I counted 47 the first time, 55 the next, 53 the next and 32 the next. It is getting ridiculous.