POSTERS showing a young child with dog mess smeared round her mouth are being displayed across a parish to address a dog fouling problem.

Around 30 of the hard-hitting posters have been put up around Stone as part of a campaign by Stone Parish Council following complaints about dog owners not picking up after their pets.

The poster implies the young girl has picked up dog mess and eaten it leading to the possibility she might also pick up a nasty illness.

Parish council clerk Jennie Thomas says the image is open to interpretation but admits council members were “disgusted” by it.

She said: “Our reason in the end for choosing it was if people were talking about it then we have succeeded in creating the awareness we wanted to inspire.

“Sometimes shock tactics are the way to raise awareness, a bland poster probably wouldn’t have much effect.

“We haven’t had a negative comment yet, people are saying it really makes them think.”

News Shopper: The parish council says the image is open to interpretation.

More posters showing different but similarly affecting anti-dog mess images will be put up over the coming weeks.

Information packs containing the poster, a flier and bags to put dog mess in are also being distributed freely to dog owners.

Other ways of tackling the problem include overt and covert surveillance to catch offenders, a review of signage and dog-bin provision and a Facebook discussion group.

Parish council chairman Councillor Thurza Richards said: “The council feels compelled to take action to encourage dog owners to be responsible in clearing up their dog’s mess and have respect for the local environment.

“There are many responsible owners who wouldn’t dream of leaving their dog’s mess to inconvenience others and I’m sure who are just as fed-up by the few giving them a bad rap.

“We want to remind owners not clearing up dog-mess is a criminal offence and they risk prosecution if they do not comply.”

People who do not clean up after their dog can be given a £50 on-the-spot fine.

Refusal to pay could mean court action and a maximum penalty of £1,000.