Speak to any aspiring journalist – and I have met and interviewed hundreds over the past 20 years – and they will reveal a very clear set of ambitions.
Some talk about wanting to uncover corruption and right injustices and how, if given the opportunity, they will shine a light into the darker corners of society.
What nobody ever says in interview is that they want to spend the rest of their days in a newsroom 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 regarded as the Exeter City of current affairs – unfashionable and of no real interest to anyone other than the people they directly affect. But this is an issue that is not talked about quite often enough for my liking and it certainly isn’t taken anywhere near as seriously as it should be.
Dog dirt on our streets is a scourge which has wider ramifications than just being a menace to local residents, not to mention being absolutely disgusting. Yet each year just a few thousand dog owners receive fixed penalty notices of anywhere between £50 and £80 and while most cough up, there are some who refuse and are taken to court, where their names are then put into the public domain.
Not normally a betting man, I would wager my week’s sausage roll allowance that those dog owners who end up being named and shamed in newspapers such as this one don’t ever do it again, which is why I believe identities of all offenders should be made public.
That way I am pretty sure we would see a lot less poo on our pavements but it is unlikely to ever happen, especially now as our data protection laws are set to be tightened further in the coming weeks.
If we cannot publicly shame these people then local authorities need to 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 easily able to stamp out.