Right, as of this morning’s school run, I have officially had enough. I have a problem: I’m really sick of walking anywhere in the otherwise beautiful town of Lewes and having to dodge dog shit. Please don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love dogs, and we would dearly love to have one one day, but I wish that the few dog owners in Lewes that are giving dog owners a bad name would do the responsible thing and clean up after their wonderful animals.
Because surely it’s like when you decide to have a kid. Changing a nappy isn’t going to be your favourite thing to do, but it’s a fact of having a baby, and that baby makes it worth it. Similarly, picking up warm poo in a bag can’t be one of the nicer aspects of owning a dog, but it’s a necessary one, and the companionship of the dog must make it worth it. (And by the way leaving it in its baggie on the street does not count – saw two of those on the school run this morning). In both cases, there are certain responsibilities you’ve just gotta be prepared to take on. And when you flip it on its head, I’m pretty sure few dog owners would appreciate me letting my three-year-old poo on the pavement, let alone me watching him do it and then walking away from it so that their dogs can tread it into their houses.
Joking apart though, it’s kids who usually unwittingly walk through dog poo (when it’s partially degraded it’s harder to spot, but it’s still there). And just think, they can do this on the way to school, and then remove and put their shoes back on before and after PE, probably not be supervised when washing hands before lunch, possibly not use soap, and then…sit down to eat. There’s this condition called toxocariasis that can be contracted when particles of dog faeces get into a person’s mouth – or eyes. It is rare, but cases of it are most common in young kids. When it occurs in the eyes it can – worst case scenario – cause blindness. (And I’m not suggesting this is limited to kids, I’m just saying they’re not as diligent about hand-washing as us adults, and they more commonly play at ground level so, y’know).
Those posters of evil eyes ‘watching’ dog owners aren’t really doing much, nor are the threats of fines. Since the end of the summer holidays, Lewes has been in one of its cyclical ‘moments’ in which poo is being left all over town. We side-stepped six on our 10-minute walk to school this morning – beginning with a fresh one nicely laid at the bottom of our front steps (and then deposited as blogs to at least six houses along from ours, likely by some other unsuspecting school child).
So how about joining me in tackling it with some gentle humour instead? A few months back I saw an image that Hastings illustrator Scott Garrett created for his self-initiated ‘The Poo Won’t Do’ campaign, which he says has seen a marked reduction in abandoned poop in the streets around where he lives. I regrammed the image on Instagram a few months back, publicly pondering putting some up around Lewes. Several followers said they’d like to do the same in Seaford, Brighton and Hove.
Scott is a friend of my husband – also an illustrator – and says he hopes other illustrators across the land will design powerful- but-playful images in the same black, white and red palette as a creative, humorous, and very British way of tackling a universally disgusting problem.
So if you’re also kind of tired of scraping turds from your treads, there are a few links within this post for downloading the posters. Print one – or hell, print them all – and put them in your window where they can’t be pulled down (Scott said every house on his street did this, so offenders literally felt ‘a wall of awareness’ and couldn’t just leave the poo!).
Feel super strongly about it? Get them laminated (Lewes Print Shop on Station Street can do this for you) and hang them on any lamp post you fancy, in whichever part of Lewes – or your own town – where you live or walk.
Don’t want to print it? No problem. Simply share, share, share it on any social media platform – an image itself, or pictures of posters in situ. Make sure you cc @garrettworld on Instagram and use the hashtag #thepoowont do.
And if you’re an illustrator – in Lewes or anywhere else – create your own version. I hope my husband will do this soon too, and I’ll share it on here when he does. I also welcome you to ask your kids to do the same – we can get all Lewes and creative on this problem!
So come on people, let’s stand up to the offenders – not in the crap they leave! Because the poo won’t do! It’s anti-social and, whoever you are, and whatever your point of view, it’s just downright gross!
The Lewes Print Centre Ltd
Address: 24 Station Street, Lewes, BN7 2DB
Tel no.: 01273 472 710
Open: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm
Details: For printing: poster artwork can be downloaded and then emailed to the Lewes Print Centre, or taken in to the shop on a stick. Make sure you ask for it to printed in colour. For laminating: either take posters you’ve printed at home in, or have them printed and laminated at the shop.
Disclosure: I contacted Scott Garrett to ask for digital copies of his posters and he happily gave me the artwork for no charge. I’m gaining nothing except (hopefully) cleaner pavements from this post, which I wrote because I HATE DOG SHIT!
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