When Gary Downie pushed the stroller of his seven-week-old baby through the streets of his neighborhood in the English town of Chester, he had to snake around an estimated 500 chunks of dog feces that dot the main road. "I am concerned about my children," the father of two told the Chester Leader. "There are health risks."
So the ex-banker decided to fund an effort to scoop up the poop.
Downie isn't the only one to notice the problem, the Chester Leader reports. Teachers at Broughton Primary School say they regularly scrape the poop off children's shoes. Downie has decided to do something about it. He's dumped 10,000 pounds (almost $16,000) of his own money into a new charity called StreetKleen, which will recruit unemployed locals to man the front lines.
The initiative has the full support of the neighborhood county council representative, David McFarlane. The council has tried to take an aggressive approach to the dog waste problem. A person who fails to clean up after his or her pet may receive a ticket of 75 pounds. If a person bags the mess but then doesn't dispose of it properly (the Flitshire County website gives as examples "throwing it into a hedge" or "hanging it from the trees") the offense becomes littering, and the offender could face a maximum fine of 2,500 pounds.
The council even introduced "Dog Watch schemes," in which local residents patrol communities and "stop and politely speak" to individuals whom they see "forgetting to pick up after their dog," according to the Flitshire County Council website. The council is even providing volunteers with bags, and special vests to "act as a visual deterrent to potential offenders."