Chelmsford City Council’s new Green Dog Walkers scheme provides a simple, non-confrontational, and community-driven way to tackle dog fouling.
New Chelmsford City Council scheme targets dog fouling
Not cleaning up your dog’s waste in a public area is an environmental crime. And, while everyone agrees dog fouling is unpleasant, it continues to be an issue. So, the council’s Public Health team decided to try a different tack in the form of Green Dog Walkers.
The scheme encourages dog walkers to come together to tackle the problem, by carrying extra dog poo bags and sharing them with those who may have been caught short. Rather than criticising someone for not picking up after their dog, Green Dog Walkers group members simply provide a solution without judgment or confrontation. Those who sign up to the scheme receive free dog poo bags and a Green Dog Walkers badge or armband, so that fellow dog walkers can identify them and ask for a bag if they need to.
Sign up to be a Green Dog Walker
All dog walkers are invited to sign up to the Green Dog Walkers scheme. In doing so, they pledge to:
- Wear their badge or armband as often as possible when walking their dog
- At all times clean up after their dog and dispose of the bag in a bin
- Carry extra poo bags and be happy to be approached to give a bag to those who require one
- Be a friendly reminder to other dog walkers to clean up after their dog
Every volunteer will receive a welcome pack, which includes:
- Welcome letter, with a copy of the pledge
- Green Dog Walkers badge or armband (choose when you pledge)
- A roll of poo bags and dispenser
A new approach to a long-standing problem
Everyone can agree that dog poo isn’t something you want to stumble across, and not picking up after your dog can result in a fixed penalty notice in Chelmsford. Yet, dog fouling is still a problem in some areas of the district.
While for the most part coming across unexpected dog poo is just unpleasant, it can be harmful. If left, bacteria in dog feces can impact its immediate environment, polluting soil and water during decomposition. It can also cause health problems for humans if ingested, causing stomach upsets and, in some cases, toxocariasis. Toxocariasis is rare, with around 100 cases diagnosed in the UK each year, but it can cause serious problems if untreated, such as breathing difficulties or loss of vision.
Councillor Moore, Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford, and Green Dog Walkers member, welcomes this fresh approach to a long-standing problem.
“Failing to clean up after your dog is a crime and is widely accepted as anti-social behaviour. But it can also be a contentious topic.
“Many people feel strongly about dog fouling and, while that’s understandable, it can lead to unpleasantness between dogwalkers and confrontations that aren’t helpful. The Green Dog Walkers scheme provides the opportunity to be a little more compassionate and community-minded in our approach.
“By wearing the Green Dog Walkers badge, you’re letting other dog owners know that there is no excuse to leave their dog’s mess behind – even if they’ve made the innocent mistake of forgetting poo bags! We can all help each other be more responsible.”Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford
‘Paws and Think’ launch event
To officially launch the Green Dog Walkers scheme, the council’s public health team hosted ‘Paws and Think’ at Chelmer Park, an event dedicated to responsible dog ownership.
A host of partners attended to talk to dog owners, including Essex Police Dog Watch, Essex Therapy Dogs, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Essex Retired Police Dogs, Tails Wagging Pet Supplies, and TC Dog Training.
Informative talks, courtesy of TC Dog Training, and interactions with furry friends kept guests busy, and there was even a dog show for attendees!
Throughout the day, 42 Chelmsford residents pledged to be Green Dog Walkers. Nicola Tansley, of the council’s Public Health team, said it was fantastic to see so many dog owners engaging with community organisations and learning more about the services available to them.
“We were really pleased with the turnout at Paws and Think! It’s heartening to see so many dog owners interested in responsible dog ownership and just to get the message out that there are loads of organisations who want to support you in being the best pet parent you can be.
“It was brilliant to have so many attendees sign up to the Green Dog Walkers scheme and I’m looking forward to seeing walkers with their badges when I’m out walking my own dog. The team and I will be holding more pop-ups around Chelmsford to encourage Green Dog Walkers sign-ups, but you can find out more online and sign up anytime using the online pledge form.”Nicola Tansley, Community Protection Lead Officer, Chelmsford City Council
The team will be visiting Angel Meadow in Broomfield on Friday 3 November and Chelmsford High Street on Tuesday 7 November, to invite local residents to sign up to Green Dog Walkers. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Green Dog Walkers scheme at chelmsford.gov.uk/green-dog-walkers-scheme/
To become a member simply complete the online pledge form.
If you missed our Paws and Think event, you can find lots of information about responsible dog ownership online. Check out our resources page for our recommendations.
We encourage residents to report irresponsible dog owners on the Chelmsford City Council website.