This blog is a little teeny bit of a rant. I must admit to hating this time of the year......1st May in particular a day I hate. Yes, the warmer dryer weather has arrived but along with the seasonal dog ban on the beach which to me, is as much of an annoyance as seasonal hay fever.
Having just returned from a week's holiday in Cornwall, it's more of an annoyance than ever. Now Cornwall is one of the most dog-friendly places in the country but, even here, I find myself unable to visit some of the most picturesque and appealing beaches because of the seasonal dog ban which normally starts either at Easter or 1st May until the end of September.
It saddens me that dogs are banned because of the minute few who don't pick up their dogs' mess, as opposed to the hundreds of humans who descend on the beaches and leave their endless plastic bags, broken parasols, buckets and spades, punctured inflatables and goodness knows what else. Please don't think in any way that I'm condoning peoples' dog mess but, at least, that has more chance of biodegrading than a non-disposed disposable bbq. Yes, it's disposable which means YOU dispose of it! Don't leave it on the burnt patch of grass you've ruined for someone else to clear up or worse still one of my dogs to find with a chicken bone you've left on it!
I saw an article recently where my local Council were congratulating themselves on how they had managed to recruit extra new staff who had worked tirelessly after the recent warm Bank Holiday weekend clearing up all the waste that had been left by "visitors" to the beach!
What incenses me about this is that firstly, why is it acceptable for these people to leave their waste for others to clean up and yet if someone doesn't pick up after their dog they're almost outlawed? As I said earlier, I am not condoning irresponsible dog walkers but simply the punishments for littering must be harsher and better policed rather than just accepted. The other thing that angers me is that I live five minutes from the beach yet I can't visit on any warm weekend due to the amount of "visitors" and my dogs are not allowed on certain parts or all of the beach anyway. Worse still, when I do visit, which is normally early morning on a Monday after a warm weekend, I'm confronted with what looks like a badly organised reclycing plant with hazard after hazard in front of my poor dogs who then end up having to go on leads. Totally and utterly unfair wouldn't you agree? I've always hated littering because it is just lazy. There's no excuse, it's just lazy......."there aren't enough bins" or "the bin was full" are just excuses, take it home with you! I recently visited a Forestry Commission woodland and there was no dog poo bin so I didn't just leave the waste or bag it up and hang it from a tree (I mean, why, really why would you do that?) do you know what I did?........yes, I took it home with me!
I'm aware there is a new "fad" of picking up five pieces of plastic on every visit to the beach and I'm also aware that some waste does get washed up but, if the litter wasn't dropped or left then there would be no need for the "pick up five pieces fad". If the penalties for littering and dog fouling were harsher and better policed, it wouldn't happen. If you got a criminal convinction for dropping litter or allowing your dog to mess, it would happen less. I mean the reason people don't just go and rob a bank (or at least most normal people) is because they know the penalty would be going to prison. If they thought they could do it and get away with it then bank robberies would increase wouldn't they? I'm not suggesting prison for littering and dog fouling but, you understand my point about harsher penalties.
To end this blog on a positive note, in Cornwall at least, they are beginning to realise that dogs are family members and for anyone holidaying with their dogs, they want to be able to take them on days out. It was extremely pleasing to find so many "dog friendly" attractions which distracted us from the number of beaches that were not so welcoming of dogs. The Hounds have been in and around castles, monuments, museums and formal gardens as well as enjoying some wonderful sandy stretches of beach.
As always, thank you for listening to me.
Much love Sally xx