Pupils join forces with council to crack down on dog fouling

Pupils from Seal Primary Academy in Selsey have teamed up with Chichester District Council to encourage dog owners to make sure that they clean up after their pets.

As part of the council's 'Ideas into Action' project, Year 5 pupils have worked with the council's Youth Engagement team to create their own political parties to help tackle local issues that bother them.

One group of pupils have formed the 'Puppy Party'. Their aim is to take a stand against irresponsible dog owners who are failing to clean up after their pets and raise awareness of the health and environmental risks that dog fouling poses.

The children have been working with Pallant House Gallery to create their own attention-grabbing dog sculpture, inspired by the Brighton and Hove Snowdogs by the Sea trail, which used large sculptures of dogs to raise awareness and money for a local charity. The dog is made from fibreglass and the pupils have been enjoying a series of workshops in which they painted it and even chose a name, Patchy Wood. The name was inspired by a painting of a dog the children saw in Pallant House Gallery by artist Christopher Wood.

The gallery's Learning Programme Manager, Kiki Claxton, says: "This has been a fantastic project from start to finish. It has been a great collaboration between three organisations raising awareness around an important cause but also highlighting the importance of creativity. The children were so innovative with their ideas and opened us up to a new way of engaging and looking at our collection. Christopher Wood would be proud."

The children will be taking their dog to events throughout the district this summer, providing people with free dog poo bags, as well as leaflets and information about the risks that dog fouling poses.

A single gram of dog waste is estimated to contain 23 million faecal coliform bacteria which can cause a series of symptoms including cramps, diarrhoea and even serious kidney disorders.

Dog mess can also be a host to roundworm eggs. The roundworm parasite is found in the digestive systems of dogs which have not been de-wormed and can cause a serious illness in humans known as toxocariasis. This can cause symptoms including skin rashes, breathing difficulties, seizures and even blindness. If picked up immediately, these eggs pose no risk to humans as they only become infectious after 10 - 21 days. However, if left, the eggs will pass on into surrounding sand and soil where they can survive and are infectious for many months.

Councillor Roger Barrow, Cabinet Member for Contract Services at Chichester District Council says: "This is incredibly timely. As a council, we are working hard to crack down on incidents of dog fouling in the district. Not only does it blight our environment, it is also a risk to our health. Well done to the children for highlighting this important issue."

Councillor Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Community Services at Chichester District Council says: "This is a great example of how our 'Ideas into Action' scheme helps to get young people engaged with issues in their local community.

"I'm sure the children's campaign will help to get people thinking about what it means to be a responsible dog owner."

The Puppy Party's dog will be appearing at various events over the summer. Details will be made available at www.chichester.gov.uk

Date of Release: 21 June 2017

Reference: 3729