Council cause a stink with shock dog fouling video

March 23, 2015

Newry and Mourne District Council have defended their decision to use a controversial video as part of an anti dog fouling campaign. The public information film, released by NMDC last week to raise awareness of the responsibility of dog owners to prevent dogs from fouling on public pavements, shows an actor walking a dog and dropping his trousers outside Newry’s historic Town Hall.  With the use of specialist graphics the scene simulates the man defecating on the street.

The footage is accompanied by a song “Who let the dogs crap?” and ends with a stark message to dog owners saying: “Stop! You wouldn’t crap in the street. Why let your dog crap on Newry and Mourne?”

The graphic video was viewed 37,000 times in the first 24 hours of being posted on the council Facebook page and received a barrage of complaints and criticism from people who slammed the “shocking” content as “cringeworthy” and “horrendous.”

Others however described the approach as an innovative way to raising the serious public health issue of dog fouling and felt it was about time the council had used shock tactics for “getting the message out.”

Defending the video on Friday’s Stephen Nolan radio show, Newry and Mourne SDLP councillor Michael Carr admitted the film was shocking but said “it was meant to be.”

“We have seen shocking videos in the past on our TV screens in relation to road safety and fire prevention and while they attract much criticism, they are very effective,” he said.

“People have got to realise that we’ve got an enormous public health concern across the whole district with dog fouling” added Mr Carr,

It’s on our streets, in our parks on our beaches and our playing fields.  This is a highly dangerous activity and children are being put in danger.”

The SDLP councillor said his party had been lobbying council officials for a long time to address the issue and, despite many campaigns involving free collection bags and scoopers and prevalent poster and advertising campaigns, “the problem is getting greater.”

A council statement said: “Over the years Newry and Mourne District Council has adopted different educational and enforcement campaigns and despite this, dog fouling remains a major issue amongst elected members and the general public.

“The council took the decision to release this video as an innovative approach to raising the issue of dog fouling and the need for responsible dog ownership. It is accepted that this video is using shock tactics to address this serious public health issue but the council believes this is a means to an end.”