I’m both impressed and saddened that a parish council chairman has turned to poetry in a bid to persuade dog owners to pick up the mess left by their pets. Impressed, saddened but not surprised by the thoughtless, inconsiderate dog owners who are happy to let their pets foul wherever and whenever.

Kathy Doyle is chairman of Over Peover Parish Council, which has produced a series of humorous posters aimed at shaming dog owners into clearing up after their animals.

According to Guardian reporter Ian Ross, the posters feature a picture of a bag of dog mess hung up in a hedge in the local area above five short poems written by Kathy and fellow parish councillor Sue Mills. One of the three poems written by Kathy spells out the problem in no-nonsense terms.

‘There it lies upon the ground, The steaming pile left by your hound, Clean it up! Don’t waste a minute! We’ll be so happy if you bin it!’

I’m impressed Kathy and Sue have been able to retain their sense of humour; I’m saddened they have had to do this in the first instance but to be honest, I’m not in the slightest bit surprised that so many dog owners show such an unacceptable level of selfishness.

Owning a dog is a privilege, not a right, and with that privilege comes responsibilities.

Owners who can’t or won’t accept those responsibilities should be banned from keeping dogs.

But don’t just ask me, ask the experts at the Keep Britain Tidy organisation who say: “Dog mess is the most unacceptable and offensive type of litter on our streets. Our research tells us that dog fouling is the issue the public are most concerned about. Dog fouling is not only deeply unpleasant, it is dangerous. While rare, contact with dog excrement can cause toxocariasis – a nasty infection that can lead to dizziness, nausea, asthma and even blindness or seizures.

“It’s no wonder dog fouling is such a problem – there are estimated to be more than eight million dogs producing more than 1,000 tonnes of mess every day in the UK alone.”

The campaign group stresses that while most dog owners are caring, responsible individuals, there are still some people who do not clean up after their pets. From personal observation, it really looks to me that the number of dirty dog owners is on the increase, and it’s not good.

I checked what the penalties are for allowing your dog to foul and not clearing up after it. Owners can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £100 in Cheshire East and £80 in Cheshire West and Cheshire. If the case goes to court this could cost the owner or person in charge of the animal up to £1,000. In my opinion, that £80-100 penalty just isn’t enough. It needs doubling or trebling at least.

The law states that being unaware a dog has fouled or not having a suitable bag is not a reasonable excuse. If someone does fail to clean up after their pet, it falls to the council to get rid of it. Good luck with getting your council to do that.

On a different topic, do you remember when home secretary Priti Patel was ridiculed after she announced the ‘good news’ that the crime statistics showed shoplifting was down and claimed this as a victory for our ‘world class’ policing? She made this statement when she held one of the Downing Street press briefings during lockdown.

It was hardly remarkable that shoplifting was down when the vast majority of shops had been closed because of the pandemic and there were none open for people to steal from.

Now health secretary Matt Hancock has jumped on the ‘ridiculous statements’ bandwagon – yes I know there are any number to pick from. In a staggering piece of doublethink, he says we should all stop working from home and get back to the office because it’s safe to return to workplaces. His logic, if it could be defined as logic, is data has shown coronavirus is predominantly passed on through household gatherings and not in workplaces, particularly offices.

How remarkable. The virus is passed on in homes (where people are) and is not passed on in offices (where people aren’t).

We are truly in safe hands with people of such intellect looking after us.