Communications News: Campaign of the week - Poop Scoop Week to clean up streets

Dogs Trust has launched a website providing campaign material to the 200 UK local authorities that are taking part in its annual Poop Scoop Week until 3 July.

The charity, which has worked with local authorities since 2000 - when the event first started - to tackle dog-fouling in public places, said it is the first time it has offered them a resource of this kind to help raise awareness of the campaign.

"The website is set up for councils to use as a resource," said Dogs Trust spokeswoman Sharon Hatt. "They can use images and template press releases available online, to promote their events and alert the local media," she added.

Using the slogan 'Grab it, Bag it and Bin it', the charity wants to show how easy it is for owners to clean up after their pets, and 'scoop' the 1,000 tonnes of 'poop' produced by the UK's 6.5 million dogs each year.

The charity points out that failure to clean up after a dog can lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996. But despite the legislation, the amount of dog waste on Britain's streets still costs the taxpayer around £2.3m a year.

"Many celebrity dog owners are often seen picking up after their pooches in public, including Billie Piper, Sara Cox, Jude Law and Sienna Miller," said Clarissa Baldwin, chief executive of the Dogs Trust. "Poop Scoop Week is all about being a responsible dog owner. After all, if the celebrities aren't too posh to scoop poop, then neither are you."

Poop Scoop Week consists of hundreds of events ranging from sponsored dog walks to 'flag the poop' events, where people put flags near dog waste in local parks. For the third year running, a dog show will be held in Tower Hamlets to promote responsible dog ownership. Local residents will be offered dog-waste bags and free microchipping for their pets and will be invited to take part in the 'dog that looks most like its owner' contest.

In Manchester, the week will tie in with Groundwork's Dog's Day Out on 3 July and the Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council's Trafford Street Pride campaign. Groundwork and the council joined forces for the first time this year after the environmental charity produced a study highlighting the problem of dog fouling in the region.

Groundwork community development officer Liz Lever said that the recent arrival of Dogs Trust has created a three-way partnership that has boosted the publicity for each event.

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