A group of dog lovers, including those who show their dogs, has been given a Volunteer Group of the Year award by Dorset County Council in recognition of their work in helping to clean up dog mess and educate the local community about responsible dog ownership.
Pooo Pin, which stands for ‘Poo out, people in’, meets in the picturesque coastal region of Burton Bradstock and consists of about 12 members who converge on Hive Beach and pick up dog mess and hand out plastic bags, sponsored by a number of businesses, for owners to use when exercising their dogs. A local veterinary surgeon has also helped fund the purchase of durable signs encouraging responsible dog walking in areas containing livestock.
Among the group’s number are Elspeth Parkinson, well known for her Clipstone Border Terriers, Helen Freeman who also shows Borders and recently took up rally obedience, and Amanda Miners who owns a Bearded Collie. They received their award from Debbie Ward, chief executive of Dorset County Council, at a special awards ceremony where the guest of honour was Lord Fellowes, the screenwriter of Downton Abbey who is well known for his love of dogs, and Dachshunds in particular.
The group was nominated for the award by the Litter Free Coast and Sea initiative funded by Wessex Water. This community campaign aims to reduce marine and beach litter and improve bathing water quality in Dorset and East Devon.
Pooo Pin has been meeting for the last three years, usually on a Friday, at the Hive Beach Café, which was recently nominated in the Best Café category in the Kennel Club’s Be Dog Friendly Awards. The volunteers work closely with the National Trust, vets, farmers and the local council in order to clean up dog mess which sometimes carries Neosporosis which can cause abortion in cattle.
Helen Freeman said: “While we are naturally delighted to receive this award, we don’t need recognition, really, as we would do this anyway. However, the award has highlighted an issue which needs addressing. It is not rocket science – all people need to do is take their dog for a walk with their friends and tidy up the countryside. If this award makes one other person do this, we will be delighted.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Kennel Club congratulates Pooo Pin on its award. We all know the wonderful community efforts made by various dog-owning groups up and down the country, but it is very satisfying to hear of a hard-working group such as this one being recognised in this way. Many of their aims are enshrined in the Kennel Club’s KC Dog initiative and we would urge all dog lovers to promote responsible dog ownership wherever they can by handing out plastic bags and other worthwhile activities.”