This might appear to be a bizarre and pointless question but, here at Dog Fouling and Red Rubber bands HQ, nothing is without purpose!
Alignment has been considered by many over the years to be of great importance. For example, Charles Dickens always carried a compass and aligned his bed to the north, reportedly to cure insomnia and/or to improve his writing. That said, as can be seen here, while point 11 refers to the alignment issue, point 6 also suggests that he had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (something, of which I cannot be suspected!).
It now appears, however, that Old Charlie Boy (as we affectionately call him) might well have had a point. A recent study (and we thank North Kent Operative JK for bringing this to our attention) has shown that dogs align themselves north-south when they defecate. The researchers measured the direction of the body axis of 70 different dogs while they were off-leash during 1,893 acts of defecation and 5,582 acts of urination over a two-year period. They found that, under calm magnetic field conditions, dogs prefer to orient their bodies along the North-South axis when they poop. However, this behaviour did not occur during unstable magnetic field conditions, and the best predictor for this change of behaviour was the rate of change of magnetic declination.
I take my hat off to the people, who observed the acts described above. I would now really like to know what they dream about and whether or not they have received any form of counselling.
I'm not sure where this study takes us but feel that it should now be incorporated into evidential requirements if an allegation of failing to clean up goes to court. I would suggest the following template for giving evidence:
...I always carry a magnetic field reader when on duty. On (day, date time) I was at (location). I noticed (e.g. the vicar's wife) walking (his/her) dog. I noticed that it was a (e.g. poodle). I saw the dog begin to turn around. Although I am not trained in canine behaviour, I could see that the dog was clearly orienting itself. I was in a stable magnetic field. I noted the alignment of the dog when it stopped moving. It had aligned itself along a north-south axis. It then fouled the (public place) big time. Although (number of ) yards away, the smell was awful and I could virtually taste it. The dog was visibly straining. This was no accident and was obviously conducted with the owner's full awareness as I saw him/her turn his/her head away, east-west, as the stench rose and hit everybody. He/she then left the scene making no attempt to clear up.....