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Dog fouling campaign features one of the best ads of the year

A dog fouling campaign which Harrogate Borough Council adopted with tremendous success has been selected as one of the best ads of 2015.

Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘We’re Watching You’ has been selected by media professionals and Guardian contributors as one of the 15 ads from 2015 that they feel are the most noteworthy and heart-warming.

In March last year, Harrogate Borough Council was one of 17 local authorities and land managers who signed up for the campaign, which featured glow in the dark signs that were visible after dark and use innovative materials that ‘charge up’ during the day.

Keep Britain Tidy’s research suggests that dog fouling tends to occur at night and during the months with shorter days, when some dog owners feel that they can’t be seen under the cover of darkness.

The council’s Dog Warden Service and the Harrogate District Community Safety Group identified three key problem areas for the campaign: Hell Wath playing fields in Ripon; Castle Gardens and Bebra Gardens in Knaresborough; and the Harrogate to Ripley cycle path at Bilton.

At each location officers held ‘bag and flag’ events to clearly show the extent of the problem; in total over 800 piles of dog mess were picked up and bagged.

The glow-in–the dark posters and other material were put up to dissuade dog owners from leaving their dog’s mess behind.


We're-watching--you-poster- Harrogate Council dog poo


The council’s Dog Control Officers monitored the areas for the next three weeks to see if there was any change in dog walkers’ behaviour – and even they were amazed by the results.  Audits of the amount of dog fouling carried out at periods after the campaign recorded the following reductions:

instances down by 89 per cent at Knaresborough’s Castle and Bebra Gardens
a reduction of  90 per cent at Hell Wath playing fields in Ripon and
along the Harrogate to Ripley cycle path at Bilton instances of dog fouling fell by 91 per cent


Councillor Mike Chambers, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities said:

We are delighted that the campaign had such a significant impact on helping us combat this problem.  We are now rolling it out across the district where I am sure it will have the same impressive results.

The glow-in-the-dark posters really seem to have made dog owners think about their actions and undoubtedly helped reduce instances of fouling so we are delighted advertising professionals picked it as one of the best ads of 2015.


Local groups across Harrogate district can now run their own ‘We’re Watching You’ campaign.  The council’s Dog Warden Service provides advice as well as bags and flags, posters, leaflets and stickers free of charge.  Telephone 01423 500 600 and ask for the Dog Warden Service or email

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