Leave only pawprints this walk your dog month

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This January, one of Wales’ leading environmental organizations is partnering with RSPCA Cymru, Dogs Trust, the British Veterinary Association and Ramblers Cymru as part of Walk Your Dog Month. Together they urge dog owners to act responsibly and clean up after their pets.

National Walk Your Dog Month encourages dog owners to brave the winter weather and start the new year with healthy habits. Keep Wales Tidy want to ensure that this includes the proper disposal of dog waste.

The charity’s ‘Leave Only Pawprints’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the health risks associated with dog waste; not only for humans, but also for livestock and other pets.

Abandoned dog poop can contain harmful bacteria that can linger in the soil long after it has decomposed.

dr Samantha Gaines, RSPCA Service Animal Director and Canine Welfare Expert, said:

“Unfortunately, it’s all too common for irresponsible owners to let their dogs get dirty and not clean up the mess. It’s dangerous, disgusting and needs to stop.

“Fouling is harmful to people, our environment and other animals, including other dogs, and can spread parasites and infectious diseases.

It is clear that all dog owners in Wales need to do the right thing, act responsibly and clean up this mess – so we are delighted to be working with Keep Wales Tidy to spread such an important message!”

Jake Flatman, Community Education and Engagement Area Manager at Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog charity, said:

“We always encourage responsible dog ownership and picking up after your dog is a key part of that. Unfortunately, while the majority of dog owners go about their business responsibly and pick up and dispose of their dog’s poop, not everyone is doing the right thing.

We encourage everyone to bag and dispose of dog poo to ensure public spaces remain clean and safe for everyone who uses them, including our furry friends.”

Collin Willson, President of the Welsh Branch of the British Veterinary Association, said:

“Not only is dog poop unsightly, but the poop can also harbor parasites such as roundworms, which can infect the soil and pose a health risk to other pets, livestock and humans. Young children are particularly likely to be exposed to potentially harmful pollutants because they may put their hands in their mouths after taking off their shoes or playing on the ground.

“It is critical that all dog owners act responsibly and reach out for their pet to reduce risk to animals, public health and the environment.”

Angela Charlton, director of Ramblers Cymru said:

“We all love to go outside in our parks and lawns, often with our four-legged friends, and would ask anyone with a dog to ensure they act responsibly.

“Dog poop can cause a lot of problems and it is unacceptable not to clean it up. The Countryside Code, which we helped create, has some clear messages and we hope this campaign will highlight them and leave our streets, parks and green spaces free for all to explore and enjoy.”

The national campaign is being implemented as part of Caru Cymru (a Welsh expression for ‘Love Wales’) – an inclusive movement led by Keep Wales Tidy and local authorities to inspire people to take action and care for the environment take care of.