DOGS have been getting a bad press in the letters columns of this publication.

Well, not so much dogs as the mess they leave behind. Apparently, some districts of Bolton are metaphoric minefields, with canine faeces replacing improvised explosive devices.

Nowhere near as deadly, but enough of a threat to public health and safety to prompt written protests from people across the borough, appalled by what they see, and unwittingly take home on their footwear.

I understand their anger and resentment. I share those emotions, which may surprise some readers as I have been an enthusiastic and caring dog owner for more than 50 years. However, at no time have I neglected to clean up after them, and I know lots of owners who exercise the same control over their animal’s toilet arrangements. It’s called being responsible.

Morons who allow their dogs to foul pavements and parks, particularly playing fields used by youngsters, get us all a bad name. But letters to this or any other publication will have no effect. Those at whom the criticism is levelled probably don’t read newspapers.

If they do, they will ignore complaints about dog poo. They are the people for whom anti-social behaviour, such as aimlessly discarding fast food packaging and flicking cigarette butts into space, is normal behaviour. They simply don’t care.

One writer questioned the role of the council dog warden and asked what was being done to force owners to clean up after their dogs. I don’t know whether our cash-strapped local authority still has people patrolling the streets of Bolton, looking to issue fines for this offence.

The trouble is, what would the warden, male or female, do if they spotted a 16- stone, shaven-headed, tattooed lout, tugging a large, aggressive hound who had just deposited an elephantine pile on a pavement?

Would the transgressor respond to an official caution with these words: “Oh, dear me. Look what Tyson has done. I’m sorry, officer. I apologise for my pooch’s lapse and will pick it up when my friend arrives with his dumper truck. Please forgive us”.

Somehow that doesn’t seem likely. Almost certainly the response will be a string of expletives, followed by aggressive instructions of where to stick the summons and hissed threats concerning the warden’s prospects of living a long and healthy life.

Unless the council representative is in radio contact with Police HQ, and can trigger an immediate response from the cavalry, I suspect that the offender and his dog will be in the next county by the time help arrives.

I don’t think action over dog fouling, or dealing with litter louts, is high on the list of police priorities.

It is in Singapore, but, as I have previously lamented, this isn’t Singapore.