We are Animal Magic Family Pet Retreat, based in Oakworth, West Yorkshire. During the first lockdown in 2020, we witnessed an extreme rise in the number of complaints relating to the amount of dog waste left laying about by irresponsible dog owners - not just in our area, but everywhere!
So, we had an idea to make and put out 30 home made dog poo bag dispensing stations, along with hand sanitiser. Our efforts were highly regarded by residents in all areas we located the stations in, which led us to developing the campaign a little further to provide a professional service, which (subject to funding!) will be available in many more locations.
Reasons Behind the Issue
· Dog owners forgetting to take poo bags out with them
· Dog owners running out of bags on longer walks
· Lack of bins (both on streets and in popular walking areas)
· Fear of disease / unclean hands with no facilities to clean them whilst out walking
· Laziness of dog owners
· Over the past 8 months we have placed 30 dog poo bag dispensers, along with hand sanitiser, throughout the neighbourhoods of Oakworth, Keighley and Glusburn. The dispensers are home made using recycled plastic bottles.
· We have received a lot of positive feedback from residents in all area’s
· Sadly the hand sanitiser in many locations, has been stolen (at least once).
· We have not experienced much assistance in the way of local users helping with the restocking of dog poo bags, and in fact in some locations the bags have been stolen along with the hand sanitiser.
· Despite the thefts, the positive feedback and reduced waste inspired us to take a step further with our campaign - and we have now designed a cost effective unit which is robust and far more difficult to tamper with.
· To place environmentally appealing (made to suit the location) units housing a bin, dog poo disposal bags and hand sanitiser in all areas of concern.
· To maintain and restock each unit at least once per week (frequency depending on usage).
· To launch an appeal to residents of each area to volunteer to help with:
- monitoring the stock levels and usage of each unit; along with the hopeful reduction in dog waste following the installation of each unit.
- the restocking of supplies, to reduce the travel costs associated with this service.
- poo picking.
· The cost for us to produce 1 fully stocked unit is £49.95.
· The average cost to install 1 unit (within a 5 mile radius of our base at BD22 0QJ) is £5.00.
· The average costs associated with restocking on a weekly basis for us are:
£5.00 time and travel
£1.15 for poo bags
£1.00 for hand sanitiser
£25.00 for the average poo pick of half an acre of land to include disposal using our existing waste collection service (optional)
As you can see, it would be far more cost and time effective to aim to involve dedicated individuals in each locality to help with this campaign rather than run up extensive travel and collection costs.
Until October 2020, we had been checking on and restocking each dispenser station once a week. Unfortunately as the ongoing financial effects of the pandemic took over, this became too costly and time consuming for us to continue with – the 30 units we had been visiting were taking 3 full evenings of time (approximately 10 hours) and a tank of petrol each and every week; not to mention the cost of the poo bags and hand sanitiser. So, we realised that we needed to take a different approach to at least cut costs down.
There are several options to move forward with this:
1) For our costs to be covered by Organisations who are interested in supporting the campaign, and receive a reliable regular service in return.
2) For the production cost of our proposed unit(s) to be met; and thereon rely on volunteers to maintain the unit(s).
3) To run a campaign which encourages local residents to donate money towards our costs, via this Crowdfunder.
4) Vote against the dispensing station idea, and operate either voluntary or fundraising campaigns in each area to run weekly “poo sweeps” – as some already do with litter.
Quantities for Effectiveness
As we maintained and monitored our dispensers and surrounding areas weekly for 5 months, we have a good idea of how many units are needed per locality; and where best to place them, to witness a reliable reduction in the amount of dog waste on the ground.
We also have a good idea of how frequently these locations require restocking (though we cannot predict frequency of theft!).
Units ideally need to be located:
· At every entrance to a public park
· Near to school entrances
· Near to convenience stores
· At each end of any residential road which has a grass area anywhere along it (ideally one in the middle too)
· Every 100 metres of a popular countryside walking location
It is also worth considering that, even if we were to place a unit every 10 feet of every road / walkway – there would STILL be a handful of lazy owners who will not pick up their dog poo! Which is why this (or any) waste reducing campaign is more likely to succeed with either a paid removal service, or a team of determined and reliable volunteers.
To gain traction for our #pickupafteryourpooch campaign, it will be important to raise awareness through both social media posts and traditional marketing methods. We have planned a social media campaign to start in April, along with a poster/flyer which features key warnings such as risks of disease, having bans on dogs imposed in certain locations – and of course the fact that dog fouling is an illegal and punishable offence. If you would like to help with our awareness campaign, please contact us and we will send you our marketing pack!
Our initial aim is to raise £10,000 for the following:
£5,500 Production & Installation of 100 Units in Surrounding Areas
£3,000 Purchase, Insurance & Graphics of a Suitable Vehicle (in which to carry out installations, maintenance & collections)
£1,500 Advertising Campaign (to include 20,000 flyers, sponsored social media posts and collection boxes)
(Please note, we are currently concentrating our services within the BD and BB postcodes - though will expand our reach as soon as this is feasible).
If you would like to see one of our dispensing stations in your area; are interested in helping with our #pickupafteryourpooch campaign - through spreading awareness, offering your time to help with weekly restocks - or more, we would love to hear from you! We would also be very grateful to anybody who takes the time to share our social media posts and Crowdfunder campaign!
THANKS FOR READING!