Few would disagree that there's nothing like a brisk seaside walk to work up a healthy appetite. Unless, of course, that walk is in the not-so-fragrant environs of Dun Laoghaire in south county Dublin.
Here, a simple stroll down the town's scenic pier quickly becomes a grim game of hopscotch around mounds of steaming excrement left by dogs whose criminal owners are, it seems, too posh to pick up. In fairness, locals aren't taking the situation laying down, though if they wanted to lay down anywhere on this particular stretch of coast they'd be hard pressed to find a place where there wasn't already some shaking, straining animal on the end of a leash, muscle-bound in the act of laying cable while their owners gaze off in the other direction.
No, residents are, in fact, furious over the state of the footpaths and the pier and have demanded the council take action to clean up the mess.
They're right to be furious, but is the council to blame?
Well, according to Councillor Cormac Devlin, Dun Laoghaire County Council have had to withdraw their pooper-scooper bags due to cutbacks in the recession and "they're looking to householders to bring their own bags," he says, adding: "In fairness, it's only right that the council provide the bags, since people pay dog licences."
So, let's get this straight, because someone pays for a licence for their dog (and I sincerely doubt most people do) that gives them the right to let their dog litter the landscape with little landmines because the council isn't providing the means to remove it?
What a load of s***.
According to Councillor Richard Boyd Barrett, cutbacks are to blame. He says soiled footpaths are just one of the "deeply unpleasant consequences of cutbacks, which will bring about a reduction in services."
Sorry, Richie boy, wrong again. You can pin all sorts of things on cutbacks, but not the complete lack of regard or any civic responsibility whatsoever of ignorant dog walkers who can't get it together enough to stick a plastic bag or two in their pocket before pootling down to the pier with their pooch.
Dogs have to go some-where and it's not pleasant, but it's part and parcel of the responsibility of owning a dog. If you're too squeamish to pick it up when your dog goes, don't have a dog.
A fine is not enough for these people. Quite simply, they should have their noses rubbed in it.