Sunday, September 04, 2011

Paws for Thought

It's that day, each year, where hundreds of  brave and tortured runners tackle our coastline for the annual Thanet coastal marathon and half marathon. Today, the brave souls have quite a strong wind to reckon with and having cycled to Reculver and back earlier, I can confirm it's it the wrong direction to favour any part of the run, which means a struggle in both directions.

Some thirty years ago, I reached St Mildred's Bay, the race having started at Ramsgate, only to find my Labrador had escaped and was sat on the promenade, watching the runners pass. So I had to briefly interrupt the race and take him home; none too pleased with the detour. A local character. he had a habit of running off on little adventures of his own and could either be found on the railway bridge, watching the trains go by below or comfortably settled outside the butcher's shop in Westgate, looking for a free lunch.

As he got older he became much wiser to my daily running routine to the end of the promenade and back and so rather then run with me, he would stop outside the cafe at West Bay, rest his paws and wait for me to come back the other way. On reflection, he was probably smarter than me.

Times have changed quite considerably since 1981, and I was quite shocked last month to discover how many stray dogs were being picked-up off our streets, 52 in July alone and predominantly abandoned or unsupervised 'Staffies' I'm told. The bigger picture involves predictable hot-spots across the island with links to anti-social behaviour, dog-fouling and fines.

I'm hoping to kick-off a new campaign to try and address some of these problems during the autumn but when I see the likes of the old putting green in Westgate, which I've opened to the public as a dog walking, play and picnic area, littered with dog mess from larger animals, I can see that educating an anti-social minority of dog-owners isn't without its challenges.

Finally, I think we may be expecting some heavy weather over the coming days, as an increasing number of vessels, including one giant construction rig, seek shelter from the wind off Margate.


7 comments:

Michael Child said...

Simon, any idea why this event didn’t feature in any of the what’s on sites?

DrM. said...

Up to the organisers to publish or submit details i expect. Its not a TDC event

Tony said...

Ramsgate Harbour used to be one of the few dog-mess free areas, until the Council decided to lift the animal ban.

1 o'clock Rob said...

Simon, although I understand the organisers of events should ensure that details are passed to TDC for inclusion in press releases/website updates etc could the Council (who are aware of events as they predominantly require permission to run) produce some information "on the off chance" that no information is forthcoming?

DrM. said...

The resources do not exist. It's as simple as that. On a much broader note, what a local council used to do in the years of unrestrained generosity and the last Government and what a council will and can afford to do in the future are very different things and the public at large, have still to catch up with the reality of the situation this country finds itself in.

Anonymous said...

Doc, would you support a law where any dog must be accompanied by a person with a minimum of two 'poo' bags, otherwise they get an £1,000 fine?

DrM. said...

Two would be an extravagence. One would be fine as long as the dog walker's companion carried a red flag and wears a yellow jacket!