Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 11 January 2008

"Human Foulers anger dog walker"

Note: if you are of a delicate disposition you might care to skip this article completely. If, however, you'd like to know what's really going on in a small seaside town in a northern Scottish winter, then by all means read on ... [+]

This was the title of an article this week (edition of 8th January) in our local newspaper The Nairnshire Telegraph (no online version) in which they report that a Nairn woman, a dog owner, alleges that it is not only dogs who foul paths, but humans too:

"Three times in one week just before Christmas I was walking the dog in three different places - the Carse, West Beach near Hilton of Delnies, and Delnies Wood - when I came across human faeces and got very angry.

"Each time the faeces were on the edge of the paths and there were tissues as well, which was a nice dleicacy for my dog!

"The last couple of years it has got really bad in Delnies Wood. The beach and Carse Wood are more recent, but I'm not the only one who has found it in Carse Wood.

"I spoke to the police who told me there is a law against it, but the problem is catching them at it and there needs to be two officers present to prosecute.

"My dog is more discreet when it defecates and we're supposed to clean up after them. But people [*] are quite happy to leave it behind along with tissues, and, of course, dogs will sometimes go for it."

- there's quite a bit more in the same vein, but I think that is quite enough for a refined blog such as this, don't you agree?

Now I have no idea whether defecation by humans in public has become some kind of a 'fad' in Nairn of late (perhaps amongst gangs of wayward teenagers?), although I don't disbelieve the notion that it occasionally happens - on the other hand I find it quite hard to believe that this is a major problem. In my experience, as a former dog owner and dog-walker, public paths in and around Nairn, and public grassed areas, quite often have recently-deposited (and more ancient) faeces deposits on them - some in pretty public places, some less so.

However, the real question I have about these distasteful occurrences is: How can she tell? Maybe it's just me, but I don't think I could, with 100 per cent accuracy, always distinguish human from canine faeces. Some larger dogs (labradors, for example, of which there are a lot in Nairn) do prodigious 'jobbies' and looking in my own lavatory bowl I'd be hard-pressed always to know the difference. Nor do I think that the odour of human faeces differs, quite often, in any marked fashion, from similar dog faeces. I must also report, with scrupulous honesty, that my own little 'doggie' (sweet little lady-like thing that she was most of the time) sometimes attempted to gobble down fresh faeces deposited both by herself and by other smallish dogs - I never saw her go for the 'super-size' deposits of a labrador or a Great Dane, thank goodness! In any case, on the occasions I caught her attempting to do this I would I'm afraid tell her very sternly that she was being a perfectly disgusting little creature and that she could expect no kisses from me that day, nor would she be permitted to lick me! I am absolutely convinced she knew she was being naughty as she always gave me the exact same look a young child gives an adult when caught doing something he or she knows she ought not to be doing. However, I never once thought (or even imagined) that the pile of 'doggie delight' my little monster was going for had been left by a human! Maybe I'm just a poor naïve, sheltered soul.

Possibly it's the presence of the 'tissues' at the scene of the crime that convinces this lady that it must be human faeces; I'm sorry, but I think there are all sorts of other plausible explanations. One can't help feeling that this first issue of the new year of The Nairnshire Telegraph must have come during a particuarly slow news week even by the standards of our local parish-pump journalism for them to consider giving such prominence (almost a third of page 2) to such an issue. I hesitate to write that it seemeth to me that the good lady protesteth too much! ... but there, I've just written it.

[+] I thought it was appropriate to print the warning at the beginnning of this entry in brown, given the topic under discussion.
[*] The lady implies (and I do not doubt her for one instant), without stating so explicitly, that "it wisnae me!".

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