Scoop the poop. It sounds like a simple enough task, but Nelson City Council says that not enough local dog owners are doing it.
Dog control officers will be out in force this month, cracking down on those who aren’t picking up after their dogs in public places, and rewarding those who are.
They will be giving away free coffee vouchers to responsible owners who are seen carrying their doggy-doo bags, but those who aren’t will face a warning or even a $300 fine – although they will get a free bag for future use.
The council’s team leader regulatory services, Brent Edwards, says the promotion has been timed to run alongside dog registration month and is a response to an increase in complaints to council about the amount of dog poop around the city.
“More people are contacting us who are unimpressed and there is also more community awareness. Dog ownership in Nelson is increasing every year.”
He says one of the worst ‘poop’ areas is the Boulder Bank, which has become a popular dog exercise area.
“Some people see it as acceptable in some areas if they see others doing it, so this is an opportunity to talk to people who aren’t doing the right thing and reward those who already are.”
The coffee vouchers are for two local cafes – River Kitchen and The Beach Cafe in Tahunanui.
Brent says that both cafes are popular destinations for dog walkers and are supporting the initiative. “It’s a way of saying thanks to dog walkers who are keeping our pathways, environment and rivers clean.”
Councillor Brian McGurk, who is co-chair of the council’s planning and regulatory committee, says that dog poop left on the pavement, pathway or grassy areas is both unpleasant and hazardous for other walkers.
“It’s also a pollution issue, as bacteria from dog faeces can be washed into rivers during rain or flood events,” he says. “By picking up your dog’s poop, you are making a great contribution to the health of our rivers, streams and beaches – plus, it’s the decent thing to do.”