A HARD-HITTING campaign to tackle dog fouling in Bristol has been launched.
The Safer Bristol group behind the campaign says it has been inundated with complaints about the problem at neighbourhood meetings, particularly in the south of the city.
To hammer home the message a shocking poster of a young child putting what appears to be dog mess in their mouth is being used.
The poster has been deliberately designed to disgust and was chosen by residents in south Bristol after they decided it was the best way to get the message across that not clearing up dog mess is unacceptable.
The campaign highlights the health risks that people – especially children – can face when owners do not clear up after their dogs. People can develop dizziness, nausea, epileptic fits or even suffer incurable blindness if they are exposed to bugs contained in dog mess.
Residents in Dundry and Knowle West have complained about the amount of dog mess littering the parks and pavements, reporting problems where children have accidentally smeared it on playground equipment after unknowingly stepping in it, and then other youngsters get it on their hands.
This week Safer Bristol, along with local PCSOs and the south Bristol dog warden, launched a major crackdown on those who flout the law.
As part of Poo Action Week (PAW) council staff and neighbourhood police officers will be out on the streets of Knowle West, Bishopsworth, Hartcliffe and Whitchurch Park to target offenders.
People who don’t clear up after their dogs could be issued with on-the-sport £80 fines, or even face prosecution, with the possibility of an £1,000 fine.
Residents are also being told how they can report incidents of offending and free bags are being given out across the community.
The poster, which shows a child stood near a playground slide with its hands and face smeared with what is supposed to be dog mess, will be put up in community centres, libraries, doctors surgeries and vets, as well as at the pavilion in Filwood Fields. There’s also a second poster telling people how to report offenderss will also be put up, and free poo bags are being given out in venues including Knowle West Health Park, Filwood Community centre, @symes Community Centre and Bishopsworth Library so they can put the mess in the provided bins.
Yesterday young footballers playing at Filwood Fields on Creswicke Road as part of a summer coaching programme wore T-shirts bearing the slogan “no dog fouling” to help drive the message home.
Kate O’Connor, community safety officer for Safer Bristol who has helped organise the campaign, said the pilot campaign could be used across the city if it is successful.
She said: “We asked our street sweeping teams to tell us which parts of Bristol were the worst locations, and residents in Knowle West, Bishopsworth, Whitchurch Park and Hartcliffe have all complained at their neighbourhood forum meetings. When we started thinking about this type of campaign we looked at elsewhere in the country and the image on the poster was used in Torbay and Rhondda in South Wales.
“We showed the images to residents at the forum meetings and this was the one that generated most discussion. Everyone felt that it was disgusting, but it needs to be disgusting to get the message across.
“The thing that really hits home to people is if their children are in danger in some way.
“What we are really trying to do is report people who don’t clear up after their dogs.”
Anita Pearce, from the Filwood Neighbourhood Partnership, said: “It is really nice to see people use the area, but sSome dog owners let their dogs run wild and then leave things. Those are the ones we are trying to educate. A lot of people have complained through the neighbourhood forum meetings. Dog mess is something that people always complain about, but they often don’t take seriously and don’t know what to do about it.Hopefully this campaign and its hard-hitting posters will help.”
Filwood councillor and dog owner Chris Jackson also gave it his backing. He said: “This is a brilliant initiative. The problem is getting better, but there are still irresponsible owners. We want a zero dog waste area here. It only takes a few seconds to clear up, and 95 per cent of owners are responsible, but we want to appeal to that five per cent to help keep our parks clean.”
PCSO Joe Parhbga, who covers Knowle, said enforcement officers would be handing out bags and helping raise awareness. He said: “It is a massive problem in the area, and anything that affects the quality of people’s lives is important. It is unsightly, makes areas look bad and is against the law.”
To report incidents of dog fouling, call the dog warden on 0117 922 2500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the owner, location, time and breed of dog.