Leaving your dog’s poo on the ground is illegal, but littering a bagged poo is also illegal! We record dog fouling on roughly 6% of our streets during our annual surveys.
During Covid-19 Lockdowns we saw an increase in the number of complaints about littering and dog fouling. With local authorities having to temporarily reduce or suspend some services, to prioritise essential services to protect public health, bagging and binning, or taking your dog waste home became vitally important.
Our people have extensive experience of data collection and analysis and of creating, running and analysing innovative approaches to tackle behaviour change. We've worked with a range of partners on a variety of projects across Scotland as well as providing education to schools on the damaging effects of litter and dog fouling.
We put a call out on our social channels in April 2020 for daily exercisers to record and #TurdTag the scale of the dog fouling problem in their local communities and send us their findings.
We collated the findings and then used them to highlight the severity of the issue and to develop campaign messaging to target the behaviours leading to the issue.
The snapshot survey highlighted the increasing number of bagged poos littered across Scotland. So, we are urging those who start to do the right thing, and pick up after their dogs, not to do ‘half the jobbie’. If you make the effort to take a bag and pick up the poo, you need to take the next step and bin it or take it home and bin it there.
Impact and measurement
The snapshot data from more than 100 volunteers across Scotland surveying 100 meters in their community revealed:
- an average of 12 dog poo incidents per 100 meters; and
- 5x more bagged and littered dog poos than those left unbagged.
It exposed the number of dog owners only doing ‘half the jobbie’ - bagging the poo and then littering it. So we developed messaging to encourage people to take the next step and bin it or take it home by using the messaging #FinishTheJobbie.
The snapshot citizen science campaign allowed us to collect and analyses data from areas out with our normal surveying range. This enabled us to create new messaging based on the evidence, and to share this widely across social media channels. NatureScot also adopted the #FinishTheJobbie messaging to encourage dog owners to put their pets poo in a bag, and then in the bin.
We continue to explore new ways of reducing the amount of dog foul recorded on our streets and in our open spaces and are keen to work with partners to develop a sustained campaign to make real impact on inspiring behaviour change to ensure all dog owners #FinishTheJobbie