Clare County Council has teamed up with the creators of internet animation series Sminky Shorts to launch a new environmental initiative which aims to change dog owner behaviour in relation to dog litter.
Funded under the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s Anti Litter Awareness Grant Scheme, the 80-second animated short highlights the responsibility of dog owners to clean up after their dog and features two cartoon pug dogs humourously conversing at the Cliffs of Moher.
“The Sminky Shorts clip is a promotional tool and fun way to bring attention to the need for dog owners to take responsibility for their animals litter” explained Karen Foley, Environmental Awareness Officer with Clare County Council. “The clip will be used on Facebook and Twitter as a means of helping promote awareness of our Green Dog Walkers scheme and will also be included in part of our primary schools litter awareness programme.”
Green Dog Walkers is a new scheme which encourages dog owners to clean up after their animals and raises awareness of the potential negative impact of dog waste on the environment and public health.
Clare County Council says Green Dog Walkers is a “non-confrontational, friendly way to change attitudes about dog fouling” with volunteers wearing a Green Dog Walkers Hi-Viz vest showing they have ‘taken the pledge’ to always clean up after their dog, carry extra dog waste bags, be happy to be approached to ‘lend’ a dog waste bag to those without, and be a friendly reminder to other dog walkers to clean up after their dogs.
Dog walkers can take the pledge by signing the Green Dog Walkers form (available on www.clarecoco.ie) and returning it to Environment Section, Clare County Council, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare after which they will receive a Green Dog Walker pack in the post. The Council is also providing bags to dog walkers via ‘Mutt Mitt’ dispensers in popular public areas.
“By taking the pledge you are indicating that you are a responsible dog-owner promoting good practice” explained Karen Foley.
“When you sign up to the scheme we will send you a complimentary Green Dog-Walkers High-Vis vest, Green Dog-Walkers ‘doggie bone’ poop-bag dispenser with a roll of bags, information leaflet and dog pledge, where children can get their dogs to put a paw print on a postcard,” she added.
Environment Section staff have in recent weeks hosted a pop-up Green Dog Walkers promotional stand at Lahinch Promenade, Kilkee Beach bandstand and at the Corofin dog show resulting in more than 60 volunteers signing up to the scheme.
“The majority of people walking their dogs in public spaces are good about picking up after their dogs, so they can help get the message out to others and lead by example,” said Ms. Foley “We are particularly interested in working with community groups, Tidy Towns committees and volunteers. We would like groups to contact us, to see how they can become involved in promoting the initiative.”
Green Dog Walkers was originally trialled by Falkirk Council in Scotland, who now have close to 1000 volunteers in the Falkirk area, as well as 24 local community group partners who are managing their own schemes within their neighbourhoods. 19 other local authorities across Scotland, England and Ireland have since taken on Green Dog Walkers licences with an estimated 3000 pledgers signed up throughout the UK and Ireland.
The Green Dog Walkers video by Sminky Shorts may be viewed on Facebook (ClareCountyCouncil) and Twitter (ClareCoCo).