Giles Coren calls for dogs ban over 'disgusting' poo blighting Camden streets
PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 July 2013
The streets of Camden are blighted by the second highest amount of dog mess in central London - prompting Times columnist and outspoken local Giles Coren to call for a ban on canines.
More people have complained about dog poo in Kentish Town than any other area in central London, figures obtained by the Ham&High under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed.
More than 100 people in five years reported dog mess littering Kentish Town streets to Camden Council and NW5 has the highest number of complaints of any area, where data was available by ward, across all 12 inner London boroughs and the City of London.
The news has confirmed the suspicions of Mr Coren, who lives in Kentish Town, and who would ideally like to see all dogs banned from the capital.
He said: “I have thought about putting signs up saying ‘I will kill your dog if I see it pooing in my road’ but I wouldn’t ever kill an animal, obviously, and I don’t want to upset people.
“I thought I was going mad seeing it [dog mess] a couple of times on the street and then seeing it everywhere, even when it’s not there, so I’m glad to have it confirmed.”
Camden has received the second highest number of complaints about dog poo of any inner London borough, racking up 650 complaints since 2009.
The borough was surpassed only by Wandsworth, whose residents made 1,689 complaints about dog fouling in five years.
Islington Council received 2,621 complaints through its Contact Islington customer service point – but there were only 365 reports made on their official antisocial behaviour hotline.
Kentish Town was the only ward in central London to have as many as 110 reports of dog poo.
The data has infuriated Mr Coren, 43, who has had to teach his 18-month-old daughter Kitty to point at dog poo and say ‘disgusting!’ to try to stop her picking it up and putting it in her mouth.
He added: “Dogs really should be banned in London. In the countryside some dogs still work, but in town they are ridiculous.
“If people are that lonely they have to have a scraggy mutt for their only mate, I will be their friend.”
But Mr Coren admits a capital-wide ban on dogs is not entirely realistic.
“As a way of clamping down on dog mess, the dog licence owner living nearest to any particular pavement poo might be fined, regardless of whether it is their dog, so that the dog-owning community takes collective responsibility,” he suggested.
Mr Coren has said his friend, the comedian and Great British Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins, thinks dog mess is the fault of owners, rather than their pets.
An offline community and online platform to change attitudes to dog poo in public places will be developed over the summer as part of the Camden Challenge, an initiative run Camden Council to encourage the public to improve community life.
Cllr Phil Jones, cabinet member for sustainability, said: “Camden promotes responsible dog ownership, which highlights that dog owners must pick up after their dog if it fouls in public space.
“This is the personal responsibility of dog owners.”