Leave only pawprints this walk your dog month

Written by on 18th January 2022

Keep Wales Tidy urges dog owners to pick up after their pets throughout national walk your dog month and beyond.

This January, one of Wales’ leading environmental charities is teaming up with RSPCA Cymru, Dogs Trust, British Veterinary Association and Ramblers Cymru as part of ‘walk your dog month’. Together they are calling on dog owners to be responsible and clean up after their pets.

National ‘walk your dog month’ encourages dog owners to brave the winter weather and kickstart the new year with healthy habits. Keep Wales Tidy want to make sure this includes disposing of dog poo properly.

The charity’s ‘leave only pawprints’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the health risks associated with dog poo; not just for humans but also for livestock and other pets.

Dog poo that’s left behind can carry harmful bacteria which can remain in soil long after it has decomposed.

Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animals department, and dog welfare expert, said:

“Sadly, irresponsible owners allowing their dogs to foul and not cleaning up the mess is all too common. It’s dangerous, disgusting and has to stop.

“Fouling is harmful for people, our environment and other animals too, including for other dogs, and can spread parasites and infectious diseases.

It’s clear that all dog owners in Wales must do the right thing, be responsible and clean up that mess – so we’re really pleased to join forces with Keep Wales Tidy to raise such an important message!”

ake Flatman, Community Education and Engagement Area Manager of Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, said:

“We always encourage responsible dog ownership and picking up after your dog is a key element of that. While the majority of dog owners are responsible and pick up and dispose of their dog’s waste when out and about, sadly not everyone does the right thing.

We encourage everyone to bag and bin dog poo to ensure public spaces remain clean and safe for everyone using them, including our four-legged friends.”

Collin Willson, President of the British Veterinary Association’s Welsh Branch, said:

“Dog fouling is not only unsightly, but the faeces may also harbour parasites such as roundworm that can infect soil and pose a health risk to other pets, livestock and people. Young children are particularly likely to come into contact with potentially harmful contaminants as they may put their hands in their mouth after removing their shoes or playing in soil.

“It’s crucial that all dog owners act responsibly and pick up after their pet, to reduce the risk to animals, public health and the environment.”

Angela Charlton director of Ramblers Cymru said:

“We all love heading outdoors for walks in our parks and local green spaces, often with our four-legged friends and would urge anyone with a dog to make sure they do so responsibly.

“Dog mess can cause a lot of problems and not cleaning it up is unacceptable. The Countryside Code that we helped develop has some clear messages and we hope that this campaign will highlight them, leaving our streets, parks and green spaces free for all to explore and enjoy.”

The nationwide campaign is being run as part of Caru Cymru (a Welsh phrase meaning ‘Love Wales’) – an inclusive movement led by Keep Wales Tidy and local authorities to inspire people to take action and care for the environment.

Based on research by behaviour change experts, bright pink signs, posters, pawprint stencils and bin stickers are appearing across the country to ‘nudge’ people into making the right decision by bagging and binning their dog’s poo.

To find out more and download free materials, visit the Keep Wales Tidy website: www.keepwalestidy.cymru/caru-cymru

Caru Cymru has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

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