Volunteer dog walkers could soon be taking to the streets to educate fellow owners about cleaning up after their pets.
Craigavon Borough Council is pushing ahead with a scheme which began in Scotland and has expanded to other parts of the UK and Ireland due to popular demand.
The Green Dog Walkers Project is described as a non-confrontational, friendly way to change attitudes about dog fouling in the borough.
Volunteers who sign up to the scheme wear a green armband and their dog wears a green, bone-shaped bag dispenser attached to its collar. They take a pledge to always clean up after their dog and to carry extra bags, supplied by the council, which they can then ‘lend’ to other dog owners who don’t have any.
At the mid-monthly meeting of Craigavon Borough Council, where the scheme was ratified, councillors heard that the armband and bone-shaped dispenser act as a ‘friendly reminder’ for others to pick up after their dogs.
They were also told that community engagement has been the key to the success of the scheme and the plan is to target parks, dog walkers, vets, groomers and walking groups.
The message would also be taken to residents’ groups and schools by the community engagement officer.
The cost of the scheme is £3,536.50 which would include the cost of poop scoops, dispensers and hand sanitisers as well as leaflets, posters and banners.
The project was trademarked by Falkirk Council and the one-off royalty fee of £500, to allow it to apply to Craigavon, is also included in the costs.
The council is hoping the scheme will prove as successful as its community-led ‘Adopt-a-Street’ project, which has been shortlisted for a local government award - the only council in Northern Ireland to have done so. The winner will be announced in London this week.
The scheme has been running for 15 months with the aim of bringing people together to help tackle litter.