Aug 6, 2008

Tackling Dog Poo

G'day, Dog Lovers

The townsfolk of two neighbouring villages in the U.K. have declared war on dog poo. Volunteers in Denny and Dunipace, near Falkirk, intend to count the amount of dog dirt left lying on the ground to determine the success of a range of measures aimed at reducing the amount of dog poo around the villages.

This is part of a Green Dog Walkers project. The green dog walkers aim to enlist the support of all local dog owners. Volunteers will approach pet owners to sign a pledge urging them to clean up after their animals and to wear a specially-designed armband identifying them as green dog walkers.

Michelle McCallum is the woman behind the project. She told the BBC: "Green Dog Walkers will receive clear instructions to never confront another dog walker in an antagonistic manner. The friendliness and even creative humour of the project will be the tone at all times."

The council said they will ensure steady supplies of biodegradable dog bags and increase the number of dog waste bins in the area. It's a unique approach to a smelly issue, and if it turns out to be effective the measure could be tried in other towns. I wonder if it will work?

1 comment:

GDW Project Leader said...

Hi, I just found your blog! I'm the woman who started the Green Dog Walkers (CGI (c) 2008) project - we are running it through our group Community Green Initiative in Dunipace, Scotland, working with the Falkirk Council Litter Strategy Team. It is working! When we launched it at the end of August we all figured the council might take it up within a year, to launch it throughout the district. Instead, they are already in the middle of plans to launch it very soon! The Councillors saw that it was working and got very energized about that!

We have signed up close to 200 folks so far, in a range of small villages mostly close to us but some far away...and had lots of publicity so folks are beginning to recognise what the armbands mean. Mostly we sign people up through one-on-one conversations at fairs, meetings, and our mini booth we set up next to dog paths. There is a lot of volunteer time to get this going but it is worth it and, in a perverse way, rather run! At least you get to meet lots of cool dog owners and doggies. The secret to the campaign is that the dog walkers who already DO clean up are the ones initially wearing the armbands and thus giving off a non-verbal "guilt" message to those who do not! We've made converts, including children who walk the family pet now and would not even walk the dog much less clean up after it, before!

We are working with the council to monitor how much use the dog bins are getting, we've done "poo countes" of certain pathways and will go back to do re-counts in six months and a year for measurable results. But, so far, it is helping open up a dialogue and changing attitudes. I'd say about once a week I get a call from someone wanting us to come give a talk or set up a booth. The children and teens are getting behind this too, which is a very unexpected and delightful result...because if we can reach the kids, we can change the world!

We have just set up a blog on the process, it should be active in about 48 hrs at www.greendogwalkers.blogspot.com and we invite any and all visitors and comments! Cheers, Michelle MCallum, GDW Project Leader