Speak to any aspiring journalist – and I have met and interviewed hundreds in the past 20 years – and they will reveal a very clear set of ambitions.
Most will tell their would-be employer how passionate they are about news and why they will make a difference to their communities, should they be given the job. A few have enough self-belief to see themselves working for a national title in five years.
What nobody ever says is they want to spend the rest of their newsroom days covering the most pressing local issues such as irresponsible dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets. It never happens because dog poo stories are the Exeter City of current affairs – unfashionable and of no interest to anyone other than those directly affected.
This is an issue not often talked about and it isn’t taken anywhere near as seriously as it should be. Those who complain about dodging disgusting brown parcels on our pavements are regarded as busybodies. But dog dirt on our streets is a scourge which has wider ramifications than just being being a menace.The sort of cretins who blithely let their hounds do their business before walking away are people I would cross the road to avoid. There is no typical offender – these morons come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life, yet they largely get away with it.
Each year several thousand dog owners get fixed penalty notices between £50 and £80 and while most cough up, there are some who refuse and are taken to court where their names are made public. I bet those dog owners who end up being named and shamed in newspapers don’t ever do it again.
That way I'm sure we would see a lot less poo on our pavements but it is unlikely tohappen, especially now our data protection laws are being tightened further. If we cannot publicly shame these people then local authorities must do more to catch them. Rather than targeting motorists and people who put cardboard in their general rubbish bins, councils should make this more of a priority.
Yes, there are more serious issues in the world but this is something we should be able to easily stamp out.