Belfast Telegraph

Public cry foul over man defecating in dog fouling advert

Council flooded with complaints after 'horrendous' shock video

By Nevin Farrell

A video showing a man dropping his trousers and simulating defecating outside a landmark building as part of an anti-dog fouling campaign has been panned by the public.

Newry and Mourne District Council, which goes out of existence at the end of the month, drafted in an actor to make the shock video which depicts a man taking a dog for a walk before specialist graphics are used to give the impression the man defecates on the pavement outside the historic Newry Town Hall.

In the first eight hours, 8,000 people had viewed the public information film on the council's Facebook site.

The council accepted it was a controversial approach but said it was helping to publicise the issue.

In a statement yesterday it said the response up to that stage was "very positive", but a storm erupted on the council's Facebook page with many people critical of the video and its shock-tactic approach.

One person said: "This ad is horrendous! There's better ways of getting the message across than this cringeworthy advert!"

Another said: "This is the worst 'advertisement' I have ever watched!"

Others hoped ratepayers' cash was not spent making it while another Facebook user said: "Whoever sanctioned this video needs sacked on the spot."

Others said it was "getting the message out" about the constant problem of dog-fouling which generates numerous complaints and costs councils dearly to deal with.

The footage is accompanied by a song with the lyrics: "Who let the dogs crap?"

It ends with a message to dog owners saying: "Stop! You wouldn't crap in the street. Why let your dog crap on Newry and Mourne?"

A council statement said: "Over the years Newry and Mourne District Council has adopted different educational and enforcement campaigns and despite this, dog fouling remains a major issue amongst elected members and the general public.

Factfile

Newry and Mourne District Council has defended its decision to release the controversial advertisement. It said: "The council took the decision to release this video as an innovative approach to raising the issue of dog fouling and the need for responsible dog ownership. It is accepted that this video is using shock tactics to address this serious public health issue but the council believes this is a means to an end."

Shock adverts about speeding and drinking and driving have been credited in the past for cutting the road death toll.

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