Those behind a village initiative aimed at shaming dog owners into clearing up after their pets have defended #doodoowatch claiming it is “fun way” to deal with a difficult problem.
Former parish councillor Amanda Carlin together with a group of volunteers launched an interactive ‘poo-shaming’ map where reports of dog fouling are marked with a dog-poo emoji, last week in a bid to tackle the issue in Wimblington.
But they have fallen foul of fellow villagers angry their village has become renowned not just nationally but internationally for its dog poo problems, with the story being shared as far away as Spain.
Amanda explained she came up with the idea after the parish council launched its own Green Dog campaign which encourages owners to sign up to be responsible and to clear up after their pets.
She said: “This has been an issue for at least the last six years, the parish council has discussed it many times. There is nothing wrong with getting people to sign a register, but that does not necessarily make them a responsible owner. We were talking about what could be done about the problem and came up with #doodoo watch, where people could report any dog mess and it could be mapped and shared on social media.
“I think calling it #doodoo watch was a funny way to deal with what is a fairly difficult problem. The idea is to map dog mess and to collaborate with Fenland District Council, who can send someone out to clean it up. It also helps identify hotspots. It enables people to know where it is safe to walk and where they need to be careful.”
She said she has been contacted by people from at least “50” communities nationwide, and even some from abroad who are interested in following Wimblington’s lead and wanting to know how they can set up their own #doodoowatch.
However, not everyone is happy with Amanda and her colleagues and have lambasted them on a Wimblington Facebook page accusing them of making the village the dog-mess capital of England.
One person wrote: “So embarrassed had all my friends messaging me who don’t live in the area asking me is this where I live!? .... They think it’s hilarious and disgusting! .... Like that’s ALL Wimblington is about!”
Others were concerned the village’s reputation for dog poo could impact on house prices with one posting: “Oh you’re in the doodoo now there goes the house prices”, while others accused Amanda of simply seeking self-publicity.
There was even some suggestion dog owners were failing to clear up so the mess would make it on the map.
One poster said: “There’s been reports of people leaving poo just to get it on the map, every effort to improve the mess is great, this seems to be going too far, I’d rather the village be on the news to see the wonderful things that make people want to visit our village.”
Amanda concluded: “I know some people have been very personal, and it has been a bit horrible, but I want the community to work together. I didn’t do this to divide the community, I just thought it would be a good way for the village to work together to tackle this issue.”