Hastings Borough Council is taking a hard line on the owners of dogs that foul the streets and pavements of the historic seaside town – and their graphic poster campaign which launched earlier this month is causing a bit of a stir…
Let’s face it, no one likes to see dog poo (or any kind of poo) on their doorstep or on their street. In Hastings, the local council has launched a campaign to encourage people to pick up after their dogs and also to encourage members of the public to report dog owners that let their pets foul public areas.
“Bag it. Bin it. Or get fined”, is the hard line of the campaign and a series of posters and car stickers run lines that all begin with “Oi!” followed by: “Sort your s**t out!”, “We’re not taking your s**t any more!” and also, “Have you got s**t for brains?”.
The campaign was designed by local Hastings design agency, Wave, and so far consists of fliers, posters and stickers. The posters are also available to download and print from the council website which means residents supporting the campaign can put the posters in their windows – something which is proving popular with Hastings residents, according to Caroline Kelly, senior communications officer at Hastings Borough Council.
However, the use of the word “shit” in the campaign has, predictably, upset some locals who consider the ads to be unnecessarily offensive. “For the most part we’ve had a very positive response,” Kelly tells us, “and supportive comments have far outweighed any complaints we’ve had. I think people have been shocked but it I believe it’s one of the top five key topics that we get asked to do something about every single year, and the councillors testify to this when they go out canvassing on people’s doorsteps. We’re following the campaign up with a strong enforcement message and have prosecuted several people in the last week for dog fouling offences, letting our local press know via press releases.”
Councillor Phil Scott also recently defended the use of foul (pun intended) language. “Yes, these posters are hard-hitting and yes they make you look twice but we want the small minority of irresponsible dog owners to be very aware that we will not tolerate this behaviour,” he said. “If you are caught failing to clear up after your dog, you will be fined [up to £1000]. It’s as simple as that. The vast majority of residents we’ve talked to are behind our campaign.”
Find out more about the campaign at hastings.gov.uk/dogmess