FED-UP residents have been kicking up a stink over the failure to rid the streets of dog mess despite a high-profile council campaign.
Hastings Borough Council (HBC) made headlines around the country with a hard-hitting poster campaign last year which urged dog owners to “sort their sh!t out”, among other slogans.
But locals have dismissed the £4,000 campaign as a flop saying they haven’t noticed any difference on the streets.
Critics have been leaving messages on the Facebook page of council leader Jeremy Birch while a fake poster has been doing the rounds online lampooning the HBC campaign.
Catherine Gurney, 31, of Lovatt Mead, St Leonards, told the Observer: “Here in West St Leonards it has not got any better, especially on the bridge onto Bulverhythe beach.
“I remember the campaigns but it’s still there. You are constantly dodging it, constantly watching your step and it’s horrible.
“A lot of kids go to the beach and parents don’t want to be dealing with it”
On Facebook, residents were even more forthright. Kay Avery-Stallion wrote: “Drastic measures need to be taken. In this town posters do not work.”
She suggested a day of action where wardens can stop dog owners and demand to see poo bags, and given an on-the-spot fine if they fail to comply.
And a post from the Aardvark Tea Rooms added: “Hastings Council – big on graphics, c**p on enforcement.
“This campaign was never going to affect the perpetrators, as any fool could have told them. Total waste of money.”
But Mike Hepworth, head of environmental health at Hastings Borough Council, defended the campaign saying it had been a success.
He said complaints to the council had fallen by up to 50 per cent and that between August and January this year 41 fixed penalty notices had been issued, up from 37 in the same period last year.
“The whole point of the dog fouling campaign was to generate public interest and raise awareness about dog fouling in Hastings and St Leonards, and to encourage the public to report information about offenders to our enforcement service to help us catch them,” Mr Hepworth said.
“Raising public awareness of what the council’s enforcement service can do, and shaming the culprits into taking responsibility for their dog’s mess has produced results.
“We therefore think that bringing it into the forefront of public discussion was an effective approach.”