Dog fouling health warning for primary school pupils

A dog poo bin at the land of canaan in Ottery. Ref sho 10 19TI 0713. Picture: Terry Ife

A dog poo bin at the land of canaan in Ottery. Ref sho 10 19TI 0713. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Children’s health is at risk as dog fouling has increased around Ottery St Mary Primary School, the town council has warned.

At a meeting of Ottery Town Council on Monday (March 4), Councillor Roger Giles raised the issue of dog fouling in the town and the risks to health that come with it.

He said anyone who walks around Ottery knows there is a big problem and that the most worrying areas were around the primary school.

Children who handle dog poo are at risk of contracting toxocariasis which is a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites. These parasites are most commonly found in cats, dogs and foxes and usually affect young children.

Children infected with toxocariasis can experience a high temperature or headaches but in extreme cases they can have seizures, blurred vision or breathing difficulties.

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Last week, a Sidmouth resident campaigned to stamp out littering and dog fouling across the Sid Valley after her granddaughter died due to toxoplasmosis, another parasite found in animal faeces

Currently there are eight dog mess bins in Ottery but Cllr Anne Edwards said these are not emptied on a regular basis

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She said: “As a dog owner and walker myself, the one thing that is very noticeable and I have reported it on numerous occasions to EDDC (East Devon District Council) is the dog fouling bins are not emptied.”

She noted that the bins were ‘full to the brim’ and that they were supposed to be emptied three times a week, but were not.

Cllr Lyn Harding told the meeting teachers have had to clean up mess from children who have walked it in, and parents have had to clean the wheels of their pushchairs in after going through their front doors before realising there is a smell.

Cllr Ian Thomas, leader of EDDC, who attended the meeting said he would investigate the cause of the bins not being emptied but that there was a tracking system available online if you report an overflowing bin.

If bins are full, residents can put dog mess in a black bin, providing it has been double bagged, and they can put it in their black wheelie bin at home.

After the meeting, an EDDC spokesman said the bins were emptied three times a week and that the authority had not been made aware of any particular problems in Ottery, but would be happy to discuss the issue with the town council.

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