Sunday 6 November 2011


There is some nuisance in the village with people exercising their dogs on land that isn't public open space.  We've had a number of complaints, absolutely justified, from people who have come to put flowers on graves in the churchyard and found that they have to start by clearing off dog mess.  I've not seen it, but people have been seen leaving the churchyard carrying a ball and a thrower, dog virtuously back on lead.  And yet, if the PCC put up signs saying that dogs must be kept on a lead, or kept out altogether, I know that they will be judged officious.

There is a small pightle opposite our front field, which is open to the road - and please excuse my use of a word that's probably unfamiliar to you, (it means a irregular shaped, roughly triangular piece of land) but it's a small pleasure to use a rare word in its correct context.  It's probably a couple of acres, and it is let to a local farmer.  However, with the number of dogs and their owners who use it, there are lines of bare earth across the field.  The other day, a sign was put up asking people to keep off, as a forage crop is being grown.  I suspect the farmer means grass.

We've also had people sending their dogs through our hedge on to our fields, which are used for grazing or cut for hay (as a gift to the farmer, we're glad to keep it cropped) and surely, if you have a dog, you should take responsibility for exercising it without being too idle to walk an extra quarter of a mile first.  It's not that there is a shortage of places, there's miles of open land about, both on the marshes (which doesn't imply that they are marshy, they are the occasional flood plain for the network of waterways around here) and on the Common, a mile and a half away.

Mind you, even there, although there is plenty of space, we were told on the Annual Inspection (oh yes, we took part in that) that the majority of dog-walkers wander along the fairways on the golf course.  I can imagine little that is more unpleasant than finding your golf ball has landed in a pile of crap, except possibly having to clear it off your late beloved's grave.  Quite apart from the danger to the walker.

I grew up with dogs, and at one time regularly walked all seven of them.  During our marriage, we have had four dogs: Simon, Chester, Tilly and Khan.  I've let them run across grazing marshes and open spaces (not playgrounds or playing fields, obviously) but I've never even considered letting them loose on private land.  I don't understand how anyone can think that it's all right.


kippy said...

I have two dogs that have never been taken off lead except in our yard or friends' fenced yards. The cemetery near Mom's house used to have people walking their dogs, with and without leads and often the dog' poo would not be removed. The cemetery now has signs saying no dogs and apparently the staff still has to go out and tell the dog owners and their dogs to leave. That is so rude of the dog owners in your area letting the dogs be free range on private land and the golf course.

Anonymous said...

How does one pronounce,'Pightle'?

Ann Anon


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Z:
We are delighted to come across an entirely new word, Pightle. We know exactly what you mean by such a small, roughly triangular piece of land, and once owned something very similar, but had never heard it described as such before. Wonderful.

Macy said...

Anyone who doesn't clean up their dog 's mess from anywhere outside of a field needs hit around the head with a used poop scoop bag.

Spoken as someone who cleaned up for years

LẌ said...

Reminds me of an idiot former neighbor who would toss her cigarette butts and let her dog relief itself in everyone else's lawns on the street.

Z said...

Damn Blogger ate my comment. Here goes again (and I'll copy it this time, just in case)

I've looked up the derivation of pightle, and it comes from the same root as pigtail, which I think is great. Ann, the accent is on the first syllable and there's a long i. That is, pie-tl.

People are better at clearing up on the pavements now, but they don't seem to have the same values when it's the churchyard or playing field - if the dog is off the lead, they don't seem to think it's a problem ... or not theirs, anyway. They had to remove the sandpit in the children's playground years ago - cats used that.

Pat said...

After telling you in a comment that for the last few days I have been copying and pasting comments to avoid my BP boiling over when they disappear and how maddening irresponsible dog owners are - I forgot to do it.

Rog said...

I think you have got a good title,
For your post which is really quite vital,
If I see a chap
Let his dog freely crap
I will shove it all over his pightle.

Blue Witch said...

It's a huge problem round here too.

I think that *all* dogs' mess should be cleared up by the owners, including that in fields and other open spaces. In fact, all dogs should be trained as guide dogs/hearing dogs are, to perform on command, so the dogs can go in a designated place at their home.

Our local PCSOs are currently acting on digital images of dogs/owners who don't clear up. They don't have statutory powers, but they're hoping to explain/shame just how annoying/dangerous dog mess can be. I suggested at the last liaison meeting that the pictures people provided would be better posted on the village notice boards or on the village website, but a couple of people were against this idea. Needless to say, they are dog owners...

And don't start me on the menace of people who live in very small houses and have umpteen dogs, and go out to work all day...

Rog said...

I think all cat owners should follow their cats around all night and clear up the really horrible smelling cat poo which appears in other people's gardens. Bastards.
(Not our garden, obv)

Imperatrix said...

It drives me nuts when dog owners are irresponsible. What bothers me are the people who exercise their dogs on the playing fields of elementary schools. Yes, of course, the playground is open for all people to use when school is not in session, but dogs are not children, and dogs poop everywhere. Grrrrr.

There is a man who lets his dog run loose at the neighborhood park. The smartass keeps the leash on the dog, but lets go -- so that if anyone complains he tells them is dog *is* on a leash.

We never take Zephyr anywhere without a few bags in our pocket for clean-up, and she's never off-leash unless we are in the woods.

Z said...

Bugger indeed, Pat.

Rog, hee hee.

Well, that seems to me to take it a bit far, BW. I agree that dogs can be so trained, but it is never going to happen, and who will enforce the rule? And how does it matter, on a piece of open ground where animals already graze? On the marshes there are cow pats, rabbit droppings, otter spraint and any amount of other excrement, and some dog mess is no worse than otter spraint or fox scat. And Rog's point is absolutely valid - Weeza has never had dog mess on her doorstep, but the cat next door has often used her doormat as a latrine, and cats come over a 6 ft fence into her garden too. She keeps a large water pistol handy.

And we all know what bears do in the woods, don't we, Imp? So dogs can too!

Z said...

I was quite pleased there with the number of words for poo I was able to use. Like Scottish drizzle or Eskimo snow, hey Rog?

allotmentqueen said...

We used to have someone in the neighbourhood who used to draw chalk circles around any dog poo on the pavements. At least you were alerted to it being there. My son (when he was about 4 or 5) used to think the circles were put there first so that the dogs knew where to poo!

Fortunately people seem a lot better educated now and there's far less of it.

But there's at least one b****y cat who's determined to use my garden as a toilet, which pisses me off no end.

Roses said...

Happily, I don't have a dog, so don't piss anyone off with poo. Also, my Cat is lazy and poos with gay abandon in the litter tray in the downstairs bathroom. Unfortunately, she's not so discerning with her pee.

But it only pisses me off. No one else.

Personally, it doesn't take much to walk out with a plastic bag and pick up. And ultimately, they wouldn't want some village mutt crapping on their grave. Humpf.

Z said...

Seems a slightly odd hobby, AQ, drawing circles round doggy-doos (sorry, trying not to use the same word twice).

I have no idea how cats have got a reputation for being fastidious. Dogs get housetrained in weeks, once they're old enough!