Villagers going out spray painting dog mess have been credited for recording huge reductions in fouling on the streets.
Brixworth Parish Council joined the Daventry District Council scheme earlier this year, organising a team of volunteers to go out in the village spraying brightly-coloured biodegradable paint on any dog mess they found.
The initiative aims to highlight the extent of fouling in communities and shock irresponsible owners into clearing up after their pets.
And it has certainly done that in Brixworth. Volunteers Daniel Bennett, Lynne Farrent, Rebecca Souter and Sandra Moxon visited St David’s, The Ashway and the footpath from Eastfield Road to Knightons Way between 16 and 22 March this year and found 146 incidents of fouling to spray.
A patrol of the same route over the weekend of September 5 and 6 found just six dog poos.
Eastfield Road and Broad Street were also unspoilt, as was Lesson Road, where ten incidents of fouling had been discovered during a week-long period in April.
Parish councillor Sandra Moxon said: “What is even more exciting is that we deliberately haven’t done any spraying since the second week of May, which means that the campaign has succeeded in educating people that they should be picking up after their pet.
“I would like to thank all the volunteers for everything that they have done but also reassure villagers that we will be keeping up the good work!”
The initiative was launched by DDC in November 2013 and saw environmental health officers offer free cans of brightly coloured biodegradable spray paint to parish council and residents’ groups.
More than 30 organisations across the district signed-up, with many reporting significant decreases in the amount of fouling as a result.
The scheme is run alongside a number of other initiatives, including the ‘We’re Watching You’ glow-in the-dark poster campaign to target night-time offenders, regular patrols of hotspots and dog action days in badly fouled areas.
DDC is also considering new enforcement proposals that would make it an offence for dog walkers to go out without dog poo bags or other means for picking up after their pet.
Cllr Mike Warren, DDC’s health and housing portfolio holder, said: “These are really pleasing results in Brixworth and I would like to congratulate the members of the parish council involved in this initiative – their hard work is really paying dividends.
“Our spray paint initiative has met with a very good response in most parts of the district and the volunteers who take part are telling us it is having a positive effect.
“Dog fouling poses a real health hazard to humans, particularly young children so we are always looking at new and innovative ways to tackle the issue.”