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June 26 - July 2 National Poop Scoop Week

Originally the National Canine Defence League, the Dogs' Trust is urging dog owners to act responsibly in public places.

Outline script for assembly leader

You're walking along a pavement. You suddenly realise you've stepped on something squishy. You look down and realise it was a pile of dog poo. If you're wearing flat-soled shoes, it's not too difficult to wipe it off. If you're wearing shoes or trainers with ridged soles, it's more difficult.

And it's not only unpleasant. A number of diseases and illnesses can be caused by contact with dog poo. The commonest are stomach upsets.

More serious is toxocariasis which can infect young children. When they're out playing, if they touch ground which has been infected by dogs and then happen to put their fingers in their mouths, they can develop the disease which can damage eyesight and even cause blindness. The same danger can face those playing football in a park. Even so, it's a very, very rare infection, but just one case is too many.

Although many councils provide special poo bins near parks and other areas where people exercise their dogs, it still costs local authorities pound;22 million a year to clear up the mess left by dogs and their owners.

These are reasons why an organisation called the Dogs' Trust is running National Poop Scoop Week. It is urging the few dog owners who behave irresponsibly to "grab it, bag it and bin it".

Whenever they take their dog for a walk, they should take a special scoop or a used supermarket carrier bag. When a dog makes a mess, its owner should put their hand inside the bag and pick up the waste. It's not as horrible as you think.

Then carefully turn the bag inside out without touching the mess and pop it into a poo bin. If there isn't such a bin around, it is legal to put it in an ordinary litter bin. That way, public spaces will be cleaner and pleasanter for everyone.

Follow-up

Hold a formal debate on the motion: dogs should be banned from urban areas.

The Dogs' Trust offers schools free resources, school visits and support materials, available as printed packs (tel: 0870 333 0432) or online at www.learnwithdogs. co.ukteachers.asp Design a poster for National Poop Scoop Week. The week's official website is at: www.poopscoopweek.co.uk

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