A group of dedicated dog-owners in Newtown St Boswells are painting the town pink – in order to shame irresponsible dog owners.
The team of five – Rosie Baines, Mark Crone, Lynsey McNeil, Maxine Crone and Sarah Connor – spray pink chalk paint on any dog poo they come across, before picking it up the next day.
Rosie told us: “The idea came from Victoria Xxxx, the counder of Dog-Friendly Newtown, who kind of coerced us into it.
“The pink paint highlights the fact that we know the owners are leaving a mess and that we are cleaning it up.”
We asked Rosie if the dog-owners know that the poo will be picked up anyway, would this not give them carte blanche to just ignore it?
Rosie told us: “No, on the contrary. I think it tends to discourage anyone thinking of leaving their dog’s poo behind, as they take note, and know that people are watching.
“The five of us each have our own patch in Newtown, but if any of us are out and about, we will clean it up.
“We’ve had quite a positive response, although some people thought we were vandals at first because of the chalk paint, but that happens less now.
“The council has issued us with poo bags, and we have made bag holders out of plastic bottles, and attached them to lampposts.”
The group also take a note of how many poos they find, and forwards the statistics to the council and to Victoria.
This week, members of the group plan to meet up with self-styled Kelso “poopa-scoopa” chef Gavin Starkey – who appeared in the Southern two weeks ago – so that they can share notes and swap tips.
Newtown hit the headlines last April by becoming the first ‘Dog Friendly’ village in the Borders – and possibly even in Britain.
The Dog-friendly Newtown initiative, led by the Newtown & Eildon Community Council, asked residents to join a Green Dog-walker scheme and sign a pledge to be a good, responsible dog owner.
However, there were still individuals in the community who were still allowing their dogs to poo on the pavements around the town.
But this latest initiative is helping to curb this behaviour, says Rosie.
She added: “We have noticed a marked reduction in poos already, so we are hoping this continues.”