Dog mess posters causing a big stink in Sandwell

Foul language and pictures of huge piles of dog mess are being used to tackle irresponsible dog owners with a poster launched and paid for by Sandwell Council.

The posters used by the council to crack down on dog fouling
The posters used by the council to crack down on dog fouling

The authority is using the phrase ‘no s**t Sherlock’, accompanied by an image of a dog in a deerstalker-hat sitting next to a pile of excrement.

The Express & Star has pixellated the image but it will be put up on posters all around the Black Country borough as part of a hard-hitting campaign.

The council is threatening dog walkers with £75 fines as part of a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to dog mess.

Offensive or effective? What do you think of the Sandwell Council poster campaign? Vote in our poll and have your say in the comments section:

Reaction has been mixed with some commentators on Twitter praising the council.

But Opposition Tory Councillor Mavis Hughes thought the language of the poster was going too far.

The Wednesbury North councillor said: “It’s a swear word. Yes, they’ve censored it with asterisks but it’s obvious what it is.

“There are children who will see this. I don’t think we should be encouraging them to use foul language to describe dog mess.”

The posters will be put up in parks, open spaces and dog mess ‘hot spots’.

Another poster has an image of boys playing football with a pile of dog mess inside the word ‘foul’.

Sandwell Council said it had almost 800 reports of dog mess last year, which has prompted it to crack down on irresponsible owners. Wardens have handed out 80 of the £75 fines in recent months, as well as thousands of dog mess bags to encourage people to be more courteous to other park users.

The council’s Labour leader Councillor Darren Cooper said: “All the feedback we get from people in Sandwell shows that dog mess is a real concern. For many it’s the number one priority problem they keep reporting to us.

“It’s a public health hazard – especially for children and young people who play in our parks and open spaces. It looks horrible, it gets stuck on your shoes and it costs council taxpayers’ money to clean up.

“As a dog owner myself, I’m fed up with the small minority of people who don’t clean up after their pets. It’s something that really annoys the vast majority of responsible dog owners as well as others who tread in it.”

Asked about the language of the campaign and the image, he said: “We thought hard about it. It’s risky, but would we be getting the coverage we are otherwise?”

The council – working with its waste contractor Serco – will also be drawing temporary stencils on the pavement in areas where there have been lots of complaints, to urge people to clean it up.

Councillor Cooper added: “We’re fining and educating people – but people want us to do more. That’s why we’re taking such a strong and bold approach with this campaign. We want to get people talking about it.

“We need to get the message through to the small minority of irresponsible dog owners that the council and local residents are not prepared to put up with this any longer.

“This is the peak season for dog fouling complaints. And people will be starting to use our parks and open spaces more and more as we head towards the spring, so we want to makes sure these areas are safe and clean for them to enjoy.

“We’re also thanking the vast majority of responsible dog owners who are doing their bit to keep Sandwell clean.”

Councillor Cooper revealed the posters on Twitter today and reaction from those who saw it included one London-based person calling it ‘brilliant’ with another based in David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency saying it should be introduced there as well.

West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson also ‘re-tweeted’ the poster to his more than 138,000 followers.

However, dog owner Joanna Lawton, a nurse and mother from Rowley Regis, replied: “Perhaps before having zero tolerance you could put more dog mess bins out and about. Walking a mile with warm poo is not nice.”

People are urged to report those not cleaning up after their dogs at, email, or call 0845 359 7501.

The council says that they should give specific details about the incident, including the time, date, location, description of the dog and the owner so that the mess can be cleaned up and those responsible can be tracked down.

People took to Twitter today to discuss the controversial poster campaign.

Hundreds of free dog mess bag holders are available to Sandwell residents on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dog owners have to fill in the online form at or call 0121 569 6889 and leave a message on the answer phone.

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Comments for: "Dog mess posters causing a big stink in Sandwell"


Dogs aren't the problem - the owners are !


They're not fining the dogs, are they, doofus?


Wow - thanks for being so enlightening Bird Brain !


Fantastic, but why have the E & S blocked the picture of the offensive item out we see it everywhere, on our the pavements, in our parks and on public footpaths in Wolverhampton.

Mavis Hughes, the Tory Councillor, probably does not have children because they hear and use far worse language in the school play ground and have since children started to go to school, I am sure with the increasing use of really bad language on TV and in Films the wording of the poster would not be considered objectionable by most people. If however Mavis has children they will suppress the use of these words out of respect for her as a mother, I did when I was at school 60 years ago and so did my children and their children.

With regards to the nurse and mother who does not want to carry the offensive waste home or to a bin I would suggest she either keeps the dog at home or offers it to some one who has more respect for other people. I would not want a bin full of dog waste outside of my home and really object to cleaning up dog waste left on my garden


Responsible dog owners walk their dogs...... It is cruel to keep them at home and completely unacceptable!


I do noti disagree that dogs need to be taken for walks but you should be responsible and clear up the mess not leave it for someone else to do. I wonder about the nurse who does not agree does she practise good hygiene at work


So once dog owners start clearing up after their pets, can we start complaining about little black bags of doggy poo being hung on fences, slung over garden walls, and thrown up to hang on tree branches in the local parks.

I know this happens, I have seen it happening...


Agree absolutely with campaign and hope that there are actions and not just empty words. A recent FOI however shows that Sandwell MBC have been poor in responding to this matter in recent years. I'm not keen on the wording as children will pick up on the phrase and they could have chosen differently, have no issue with a pile of dog mess as that is what is the problem, but using the word S**T is not appropriate.


Disagree- I think the use of the word is valid in this context and you will hear kids aged under 5 using worse every day.


I haven't heard them use worse outside of Sandwell..


The posters say it like it is, you have avoid certain areas of the estates after dark because of this problem otherwise you carry it in the house . The only thing is where are the wardens to hand out these fines, its no good spending money on posters if there is no one to enforce what they say.


With children's services in a mess, housing in a mess, its High Streets in a mess and schools in a mess. its brand new bypass closed for months

Sandwell council is perfectly qualified to talk on the subject.


Utterly irrelevant comment.

Dog mess is a huge issue and it is anti-social behaviour of the worst sort. Top marks to Sandwell for starting to address it, I wish other councils would take action too.


I for one do not class poor education, a lack of housing , low expectation and poor health as irrelevant.

My point being, on a scale of 1 -10, Sandwell Council is once again attempting to correct the lower scoring issues it can intellectually handle, as it is totally incapable of correcting the major problems affecting the borough.

So I wonder who will educate this council ?


How selfish can you get?

I quote: "However, dog owner Joanna Lawton, a nurse and mother from Rowley Regis, replied: “Perhaps before having zero tolerance you could put more dog mess bins out and about. Walking a mile with warm poo is not nice.” Very simple Joanna, let the wretched dog empty its bowels in your garden before you take it out to pollute the streets. If you want a dog then take responsibility for it. Why should you and other dog owners expect the Council in Sandwell or anywhere else have to provide and pay for facilities for pets and their owners?

The real solution is one that nobody has the political gonads to adopt. That is compulsory licencing and micro-chipping of all dogs, licence and chip data to include compulsory DNA profile. Costs of all tests and chip to be borne by dog owner. Then any mess found on the streets could be traced to the dog / owner responsible. After all, why would any really responsible dog owner not be happy with that? I will guarantee to vote for any political party that brings in my proposal.


I have always cleaned up after my dogs over the years however I am aware of the amount of poor dog owners who don't (I've stepped in it often enough).

I cannot believe the number of people who have looked on in horror or deep amusement that I choose to "pick it up". Although I am "too long in the tooth" to be concerned about their reactions (and want to do the right thing) some dog people would probably think "why should I bother" and leave it for them to step into.

I would like to remind people to give dog owners the chance to clean it up before having a go. One of my dogs messed on a gents front lawn and before I had chance to get my scooper bags out I was the target of a torrent of foul mouthed abuse. Although he did eventually apologise to me (after he had seen me clean it up) it did cross my mind to leave it (if I am going to be found guilty then I might as well do the crime) but that would have antagonized the situation not to mention the authorities.

As a responsible dog owner I have only one complaint about the councils campaign - it would be to give no excuses to those who choose not to clean up by having more of those red disposal bins alongside pavements where dog mess is considered to be a particular problem.

It is not an excuse (to leave it) just because there is not a red bin in sight or because the bags are expensive (I use Tesco value nappy bags 300 for 35p) so the cost in minimal.

I would urge all dog owners to pick it up because it will not only improve the environment but also our reputation. In these days of CCTV and mobile phone cameras you will not be able to deny the evidence.


Stanna, credit to you for a worthwhile post but why do you and other dog owners think that council tax payers should be paying to dispose of your dog's mess? After all, a dog is not essential ( except as an assistance dog ) and the mess is therefore something you choose to have to deal with. Just let it happen in your own garden and then the problem ceases to exist.


Lakeside, the council gets paid (via our council tax) to dispose of the vast majority of all of our rubbish and I am sure they would rather have this bagged and placed in those red bins than left to decompose (or trod in) on our pavements and parks..

I have two chemically assisted dog waste buckets (available at most pet suppliers) buried in my garden that break down the waste produced by my dogs (at home) and it dissolves it into the soil.

As there are no red dog mess bins close to where I walk my dogs, the mess I pick up is disposed in the general waste where I presume it is sent to landfill. Councils I have researched on line also allow dog waste to be put into general waste litter bins (as long as it is bagged up).

If I were to dispose of the bags down the sewerage system they could cause other problems (blockages) plus the waste can end up in rivers causing more problems. So I choose the buried bucket method.

The only reason I have suggested the council provides more red mess bins is to give less room for irresponsible dog owners to have pathetic excuses to refuse to pick it up.


Good post, well argued, fair point. I still disagree about the funding for the bins but your view is valid.


Nice to hear from Lakeside the dog hater that your view is valid Stanna, He only wants one view HIS ! However the Wolfmaster has surpassed him unreal man ! Drunkards and junkies are an health hazard also so shall we shoot them aswel oh and by the way the results for fattest area is on another thread, let's do them aswel while we are at it !


I want to reply to Middley who obviously has neither read or understood my post. Where have I said I hate dogs?


The council should be able to shoot fouling dogs on sight. They are a public health hazard, and are as bad if not worse than any of the other vermin that can be legally destroyed. The owners of such scum should also be shot, or at least fined into oblivion.

funny old world

You should attend anger management classes, better still you should be sectioned.


You have all missed the point, this has nothing to do with dog mess , this is Sandwells new money spinner as the car park revenue is falling.

Its so nice to hear Tom Watson is tweeting, hes been so quiet since the Falkirk membership report was published


It's you that misses the point, obviously quite deliberately.

Tom Watson's views can be consigned to the poo bin.


whats the point in doing fines cuz my dog cant pay shes skint


I think we're all delighted by the valuable and articulate contribution you have made to the debate. I'd bet a hundred quid you let your dog foul pavements, your posts suggest a very bad attitude.


how about guide dogs ?? who picks thiers ups


Think you will find a dog that works with blind people is correctly trained to toilet every day at a specific time in a in a specific place and it would be very rare that a mess was made in a public place. It's all about training and taking the time to train the dog or any animal.


hows bout community service (criminals) get them to pick it up

I see education was wasted on you.

carly g

I don't think it was to be honest!


I think this is nothing but pre-election propaganda. If the councils aren't seeking to "fix" one issue - all of a sudden - then they're seeking to fix another. Me personally, I detest people who let their dogs crap all over the place and I view this type of owner in the same vein as that which lets their dog bark. The simple fact is YOU decided to own the animal, nobody else. I'm sicking of putting up with the problems YOU create and if it's so damn hard to clean up after YOUR animal, then the solution is so simple a child could understand: Don't own one.


I wouldn't care if it is pre-election propaganda if it deals with the mountains of dog excrement.

Agree with you on the ownership / responsibility issue. Owning a dog is a choice and therefore the responsibility for dealing with the mess lies entirely with the owner. As I said before, let the dog cr4p in your garden before you take it out.


Would also like to add that I am not "anti-dog", so to speak. I like animals in general, including dogs (have owned them myself). My contention with the potential for this to be pre-election propaganda is just that; things only matter when they matter to certain people, and not to the masses. The rest of the time TPTB don't seem to give a toss.. hence the reason we end up in this mess in the first place. If the minority of (irresponsible) owners are still hell-bent on passing the responsibility onto everyone else, then I wonder how they'd feel about a human being taking a dump outside their window. Of course, that's not to say I'm advocating such behaviour; perish the thought (inset evil grin).


I think the nurse will find most people don't really have the time to walk a dog for a mile. Indeed, most of the people I see letting their dogs foul the area only have to walk a short distance, including roads used by children walking to and from school. Even with bins provided, some of them will flat-out refuse to use such facilities. More space in Sandwell is being given over to housing, which inevitably increases the risk of more dog-owners using paths as doggy toilets. I have zero sympathy for them. I'd also like to see if data exists that can match said owners against those who leave their dogs outside to bark all day. Fine them for their crap on both counts and for the benefit of the majority, for whom owning an animal and taking responsibility for it is not an issue. Time we stopped tolerating the minority who willingly fill our pavements and our ears with their crap..


I will try to make this comment visible to those people who do not log in and to stop any abuse of blind people with dogs. Guide dogs are trained to toilet an hour after their meal, the owner tells the dog to go and it does. That is the benefit of good dog training and maybe all dog owners should be encouraged to follow the same course especially if they do not like picking it up. Regardless of what a lot of people are saying it is normally shock tactics that get the publics attention just look at the publicity these posters have obtained.p


To those of you who have seen fit to pass comment on a piece that was taken completely out of context let me reiterate that I am not against the campaign as I am a responsible dog owner who clears up after her dog!! The point I was actually making to Darren Cooper on Twitter was that actually there are no bins of any sort on the route I sometimes walk my dog on!

Yet again it astounds me that some arrogant people feel they can comment with complete lack of thought! Rather than have a go at responsible dog owners who DO clear up after their dog's (unfortunately the dog is intelligent but can't say " sorry I can't go out in the next 1/2 hr I might need a s**t") save your energy for the irresponsible ones and those that don't give a damn what rubbish they drop!!


We all know that "taking the dog for a walk" is a euphemism Jo. Just let it roam in the garden for a while and it will empty itself, then you can responsibly take it for a walk.