I (and I am sure my fellow Councillors) know that one of the things which really annoys residents is dog fouling. It annoys me too and as a dog owner I think the fines on those people who don’t clean up after their dogs should be higher and enforced with more regularity by the Council. So when I saw this Saturday afternoon (on a Bank Holiday weekend) that a dog waste bin near my house was already overflowing, I tweeted at the Council about how it would look if not cleared before Tuesday. Their response was initially positive and encouraging (see below – you can read the tweets clearly if you click on them).
As you can see, the exchange is clear so by 6.56pm on Saturday the Council have responded and I have told them where the bin is. However, by Sunday I felt obliged to follow up on this with a new picture and tweet as nothing had changed (expect there were more bags).
As you can see the bin is still overflowing and other residents informed me that nearby normal bins were now starting to fill with dog waste too. So finally today I returned home from cup of coffee with a friend to find the situation unchanged and so updated my photo with a slightly sarcastic tweet (although note it was still phrased as a question).
Now in this case, I think I am being completely fair. I returned home at 3pm and the bin was still not empty and the Council’s reply is both inaccurate and pointless. There are two relevant points I think:
- They say I did not reply stating where it was, but I did so that is just plain wrong and reflects the fact that they aren’t monitoring their twitter account properly. In fact this tweet makes me even more confused as how did they know it was the one on Heatherbank if not as a result of my previous tweet?
- When they say it was emptied in the afternoon, that is being extremely generous. It was clearly emptied after my return at 3pm, I suspect as a result of my latest tweet on the issue.
So in this case, the Council have failed twice over. They clearly did not have a proper rota for emptying bins in place over the Bank Holiday weekend and if the weather had been better this would have been a much more serious issue. Secondly, they clearly aren’t checking their Twitter account properly while pretending that they are using it to address residents’ concerns. The inaccurate and (in my opinion) rude reply to my tweet today reflects an arrogance which really should not be present in the communications between the Council and residents – they should have been apologising for their failure to address the problem more quickly, not incorrectly criticising me for reporting it.
But really, my irritation with the Council is a bit of a side show, because the real issue is whether their failure to clean up their own dog bins makes it harder for owners to clear up after their dogs meaning the woods and parks are less pleasant places for us all.
This post was initially published on Spencer Drury’s Your Councillor site in August 2015