Dogs Trust

The Big Scoop 2020

Today we launched our annual dog fouling awareness campaign, ‘The Big Scoop’ to encourage more people to be kind to their community and pick up after their dog. This week, as part of our nationwide campaign, our Education and Community Team will be visiting selected schools across Ireland delivering ‘The Big Scoop’ workshops, where they will educate pupils on the importance of being a responsible dog owner, and how dog fouling is not a dog problem but a human one, all while using their 3 tier approach - the law, health, and the people it affects.

Toolkits full of lesson plans, posters, fact sheets and activities are available for download too, so every school or community group can take part. Both the toolkit and workshops will educate children about this important job and encourage them to remind the adults they’re walking with (not strangers) of their responsibility to pick up after their dogs.

In addition, each school or group that downloads a pack and that takes part in a workshop will be invited to take part in ‘The Big Scoop’ national poster competition to highlight the importance of this issue. There are many prizes to be won and the overall poster winner will help represent the promotion of next year’s campaign! 

Dawn Kavanagh, Education Manager at Dogs Trust Ireland said: “Children are the future dog owners of Ireland so it’s so important to instil the key messages around responsible dog ownership, which includes picking up after our dogs, from a young age. Adults should be leading by example, as it is the responsibility of adults to pick up after their dog. Our workshops will encourage children to remind family and friends, not strangers, about their responsibility as dog owners. We carried out research which revealed that almost half of people surveyed* came across dog poo in local children’s parks which is a staggering figure and highlights how big of an issue this is for communities. We hope that our ‘The Big Scoop’ workshops, toolkit and the poster competition will make learning fun and inspire the next generation to become model dog owners of the future.”

Recent research carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes on our behalf, revealed that 69% of people surveyed claim they often witness dog walkers not cleaning up after their dog with 57% indicating that dog fouling is a big issue in their area. ‘The Big Scoop’ campaign aims to tackle this issue and remind people to be more mindful of vulnerable members in their community who are more at risk of coming into contact with dog poo and putting their health at risk. 64% of those surveyed claimed to have walked in it in a park, 31% have rolled a buggy through it and 11% have rolled their wheelchair through it.

In addition to dog poo being unsightly, it also poses a risk to your health as it can contain bacteria such as E-coli and parasites such as round worm, the larvae of which can cause loss of vision. It has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million faecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhoea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans.

Deborah Martin, Campaigns Manager at Dogs Trust Ireland, said: “We are asking dog walkers to be kind to their community and to please always pick up after your dog. Our recent research highlights how big of an issue dog fouling is and we want to reinforce the message that this is solely a human problem and not a dog one. Please think of the vulnerable members of your community such as wheelchair users, visually impaired people, babies and toddlers, those who use buggies and prams, as well as people playing sports. Whether you own a dog or not, dog waste in public spaces affects everyone so please Bag It, Bin It.”

We are urging the public to always pick up after their dog using a Poo Bag or a scooping device before disposing of it in any bin and then to wash their hands when they get home.

Remember that cleaning up after your dog is the law and owners who don’t are guilty of an offence and can be fined if the poo is left behind!

Download a copy of ‘The Big Scoop’ poster to display in your local community centre!

Find us on Facebook or follow the conversation on twitter @DogsTrust_IE using the hashtag #BagItBinIt


*B&A Survey 2019 found the following: 

  • 96% of dog owners claim to or say that they pick up their dog’s poo.
  • 69% of those surveyed claims they often witness dog walkers not cleaning up after their dog.
  • 57% of those surveyed also indicated that there is a big problem with dog fouling in their area.
  • 93% of people are aware of the health implications associated with dog poo not being picked up and disposed of correctly.
  • 87% are aware that there are rules or laws related to dog fouling.
  • 77% claimed to have walked in dog poo on the street, 64% in a park, 51% walked dog poo in to the house unbeknownst to themselves, 48% came across dog poo in the local children’s park, 31% rolled a buggy through dog poo, 33% rolled a bicycle through it, 11% rolled their wheelchair through it
  • Behaviour and Attitudes survey of 1,003 people 

Health Implications

** Source:

*** [1] Source: Adams, Clark E. “Urban Grey Spaces”. Urban Wildlife Management. Ed. [ebook] Taylor & Francis Group LLC, p. 223. Available at:


[1] Source: Cabral, João P. S. “Water Microbiology. Bacterial Pathogens and Water.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 7.10 (2010): 3657–3703. PMC. Web. 2 Mar. 2018.


As well as the health risks to humans, dog waste can also spread illness and disease to other dogs and wildlife. 

Dog faeces are one of the most common carriers of the following:











It’s the Law!

Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997 states that dog owners have to pick up their dog’s poo in public places:

  1. a public road,
  2. land forming part of a retail shopping centre,
  3. a school ground, sports ground, playing field or recreational or leisure area,
  4. a beach,
  5. the curtilage of a dwelling the occupier of which has not consented to the presence of the dog in the curtilage, or
  6. such other place as may be prescribed.