Community watch-dog project - towards healthier waterways
Grant number: Targeted education grant
Grant funding: $17,000
Local government area/s: Warringah Council,
Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council, Pittwater Council, Manly Council, Mosman Council, North Sydney Council, Willoughby Council
Location/s: Middle harbour and northern beaches catchments
Project partners: Urban Stormwater Education Program and the councils listed above with Warringah Council as the project leader
Dogs are a valued part of our community, but their faeces contribute to stormwater pollution and, subsequently, to pollution of waterways and beaches. Participating councils wanted all dog owners to be made aware of this problem and provided with facilities to collect and dispose of their pets' faeces acceptably and safely.
The project objectives were to:
- inform people of the harmful effects of uncollected dog faeces
- encourage behavioural change
- provide tools to make disposing of dog faeces easy and safe.
The Community Watch-dog Project set up a system so dog owners could be responsible for their pets' waste and dispose of it thoughtfully. Councils recruited volunteers, many of whom were dog owners. Volunteers were trained to inform other pet owners about stormwater pollution from dog faeces and provide them with POOch Pouches (small purses that could be attached to dog leads and contained biodegrable dog litterbags).
Methodology and tools
The project used trained volunteers to disseminate information and resources to their communities.
A training package was designed to train the volunteers in:
- learning how to raise issues with other dog owners in a non-confrontational manner
- being aware of personal safety
- demonstrating the POOch Pouch
- explaining its purpose and the watch-dog project
- describing the stormwater issue
- providing more information.
Volunteers received ongoing support and advice from council staff for the duration of the project. The project's objectives were reinforced by existing facilities for dogs in Warringah, such as dog litterbins, dung beetles and 'POOch patches' on sports fields, and by the work of the Companion Animals Advisory Committee.
Complaints from the public to a hotline were used to determine the areas volunteers should target with information and letterbox drops.
Community events were held to inform a wider interested audience.
Evaluation was undertaken through a pre- and post-scat survey and a volunteer survey.
The following were developed or organised:
- a Community Watch-dog Project training package delivered to 60 volunteers
- POOch Pouches
- biodegradable dog litterbags
- information brochures
- The Dogs' Big Day Out
- posters for veterinary surgeries, pet shops and other public spaces
- a paper presented at the National Urban Animal Management Conference in Hobart in 2000
- a television segment for Totally Wild, the Channel 10 children's environmental show.
- Over 10,000 POOch Pouches and 20,000 dog litterbags were distributed by volunteers from participating councils.
- Community volunteers built council/community partnerships that laid a foundation for future similar projects.
- There was collaboration between participating councils, and promotion of the project to other councils. This led to the project being adopted by, for example, Sutherland Shire Council and Manningham City Council.
- There was positive feedback from many dog owners.
Council/community partnerships were formed – the volunteers' enthusiasm was particularly gratifying
Project resources and further information
Page last updated: 26 February 2011