Westmeath County Council has fortified its campaign to raise awareness of the problem of dog fouling with the launch of its Green Dog Walkers initiative.
The Green Dog Walkers (GDW ) is a non-confrontational, friendly way to change attitudes about dog fouling. The scheme consists of dog owners ‘pledging’ to clean up after their dog, wearing a GDW hi-vis vest and carrying the GDW bag dispenser when walking their dog.
Green Dog Walkers will also carry extra dog waste bags, will be happy to be approached to ‘lend’ a dog waste bag to those without, and to be a friendly reminder to other dog walkers to clean up after their dogs.
The campaign was formally launched by Cllr Paul Hogan, chairperson of the Environment, Water & Emergency Services Strategic Policy Committee (SPC ), who described the initiative as “a community-based scheme that volunteers can adopt and promote in the community”.
“The philosophy of this campaign is to start shifting public attitudes so that it becomes socially unacceptable not to clean up after your dog. With this change in attitude it is hoped for a general acceptance that dog owners must clean up after their dog fouls and therefore reduce the amount of litter in public areas,” he added.
Environmental awareness officer Ruth Maxwell said the success of the campaign will depend on the volunteer groups who actively promote it in their areas. A GDW Toolkit will be provided to resident associations and Tidy Towns groups who want to roll out the initiative in their community. The kits will be available from the council’s environment section, and anyone wishing to take part should email [email protected] or phone (044 ) 9332125. The tool kit consists of pledge forms, guide booklet, signs for the estate or area, GDW hi-vis vests, GDW dog collar attachment which holds bags, and colouring sheets for children.
Running in conjunction with the Green Dog Walkers campaign in Athlone and Mullingar is an audio device, triggered by walkers, which will send out an audible message to passers-by to clean up after their dog and keep their town litter-free. This new initiative will run for a two-month trial period.
Cinema goers are also in for a treat with a specially designed cinema advert to remind viewers of their responsibilities as dog owners to clean up after their dog, and the stark reality that an offence carries a €150 fine.