There are many positive benefits to owning an assistance dog when you have a disability. However, here at Wuffable we feel duty bound to mention one of the less attractive, but essential, things that come along with owning an assistance dog.
Picking up poo is something that dog owners need to get used to. Poo on paths can be a problem, but the majority of people do not have a problem collecting it and carry poo bags everywhere they go. People with physical disability can struggle with bending down and their are aids to help with this Portable Pet Pooper Scooper for Dogs
An assistance dog should never toilet indoors, however, on a free run there are times when the dog may need to go. Disabled people may worry how they will get their dogs poop up when they decide to go 'off piste'. No-one wants to risk getting their wheelchair stuck in mud or falling over whilst attempting to bag up poo.
To alleviate this issue assistance dog owners can train their dog to toilet on command in their own garden. Video explanation on how to do this here
It is illegal to leave dog poo in a public area, not including woodland, and if caught and proved guilty you could be fined on the spot and prosecuted. This applies even if the dog you are walking is not your own, as according to the Dog Fouling Act of 2016, the responsibility lies with the person in charge of the dog at the time of the incident.
However, those who are registered blind or disabled and in charge of a dog that has been trained to assist that person are exempt. The disability must affect their mobility, manual dexterity, coordination or ability to lift and carry every day objects. Additionally, working dogs such as police, search and rescue and farm dogs are exempt from prosecution.
Sadly, the person issuing the fine may not be aware of this ruling and as is often the case for those with disability, a battle may be needed as in the case of blind man Ian Bradwell.
Allied with the problem of poo is the issue of waste. We at Wuffable are continuously looking for ways to cut down our environmental footprint so we encourage you to buy bio degradable poo bags. We can recommend these that we use
Let's face it, poo is smelly, awful to get on your shoes or wheels and it is a health risk. Our message is always clean up your dogs poop if you can, if you can be environmentally friendly as you do this that's great!