South Downs beauty spot being used as ‘canine lavatory’

Irresponsible dog owners have been condemned for turning a local beauty spot into a “canine lavatory”.

A pile of dog mess was reported every footstep for about 100 yards at the entrance to Landport Bottom.

Dog mess in Landport Bottom

Dog mess in Landport Bottom

The online post on a local forum said: “It’s absolutely foul. Why can’t dog owners pick up? Do they think other people don’t use this area?”

It prompted a string of similar complaints regarding the state of the area adjacent to Firle Crescent on the Nevill Estate.

Another post, from a dog owner, said: “The areas near the gates are truly disgusting.”

They continued: “Only last week a woman with about four dogs saw me picking up a poop and wouldn’t shut up about it being ‘classified as agricultural land and therefore you don’t have to pick up’, even when I kept pointing out that it’s horrible to come across so much poop – regardless.

“What I hate is how that sort of cheap, selfish dog owner gets us all a bad name.”

The problem was discussed at a meeting of the Landport Bottom Management Committee on Wednesday.

Chair Susan Murray agreed that dog mess was particularly unpleasant and owners had a duty to others. There was no excuse for not clearing up as there were dog bins placed at strategic points on the downland site.

“We don’t want children falling in something and getting an infection or worse,” said Cllr Murray.

It was agreed that Ranger Dan Ross would mount a poster blitz in the area to make the minority of owners who fail to clean up aware of their responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Cllr Ashley Price has pledged to look into the matter.

With Cllr Petrina Kingham, he highlighted a similar situation on the Lewes Railway Land which led to a week of animal warden patrols.

The Lewes Forum site at attracted particular anger towards dog owners who bag their pet’s mess - and then leave it hanging in a tree.

“It’s just disgusting and unnecessary,” one posted. “I saw several such packages hanging in the trees on the Railway Land. Is it some sort of protest or just laziness?”

The UK dog population is estimated to be around eight million, with dogs producing approximately 1,000 tonnes of excrement each day.

The Keep Britain Tidy group states the biggest threat to public health from dog excrement is toxocariasis.

This is an infection of the roundworm toxocara canis. The eggs of the parasite can be found in soil or sand contaminated with faeces and if swallowed, result in infection that lasts between six and 24 months. Symptoms include eye disorders, vague ache, dizziness, nausea, asthma and, in extremely rare cases, seizures/fits.