Staffin dog walker cries foul at Slipway mess

A CONCERNED dog walker has hit out at irresponsible pet owners who are failing to clean up after their animals at a scenic Staffin location.

The woman, who has now reported the problem to Highland Council, has urged pet owners to stop leaving dog excrement around the Slip and Staffin Beach area after growing exasperated at the problem.

She warned the practice, which can see offenders fined if caught, was not helping the popular area’s appeal to locals or visitors and posed a serious hygiene risk.

It comes as the National Farmers Union in Scotland (NFUS) investigates the scale of dog fouling on agricultural land.

The Staffin dog walker, who did not want to be named, said she walked her pet regularly down by the Slip and shore and often encountered dog mess and other litter.

She has asked the local authority to provide more bins and wanted the problem to be shared on the Staffin Trust website to raise awareness. It will also be reported to the Staffin Community Council.

“I think general rubbish and dog waste is always a problem down by the beach and Slipway but in the summer there are usually bins,” said the woman. “I asked the council if it would be possible to have a dog waste bag dispenser next to the green bins. There is one at the start of the Black Rock walk, below the Cuillin Hills Hotel in Portree. Maybe stickers on the bins or posters/signs about cleaning up after dogs would help highlight the issue.”

Staffin Beach.

Keep it clean: Staffin Beach.

The woman said that she had also recently seen a green “doggie bag” discarded at the Slip and often spotted rubbish including bits of rope in the area. “Perhaps the emphasis could be on improving the area and the problem with rubbish, as well as dog waste,” she added.

Cattle and sheep graze at the Slip which is in the Garafad common grazing. Dogs can pass on serious diseases, like parasites to livestock through their faeces which can contaminate grazing and watercourses. One parasite can cause livestock to miscarry while another can cause illness or death in cattle and sheep.

The NFUS survey will help identify suitable areas where more intensive campaign activity could be targeted to drive a change in dog owners’ behaviour and raise local awareness of the problems that can be caused by not picking up dog dirt on land.

Penny Johnston, NFUS’s animal health and welfare policy manager, said the results of the national survey may help identify suitable focus areas for more intensive local activity. “We want people to take responsible access in the countryside with their dogs but that responsibility must extend to them picking up after their animals,” she said. 

The survey can be completed via this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFUSdogfoulingsurvey orhttp://svy.mk/1wNnyFD