Pooper Snooper is a new app from the University and Bristol-based company, Natural Apptitude, which harnesses the power of the public to help stamp out dog mess.
Pooper Snooper allows people to record the location of any dog mess they discover on an interactive online map. Not only will this reveal the scale of the problem and provide valuable baseline data, Pooper Snooper users can share this information on social media both to highlight areas that require cleaning up and to encourage more socially responsible dog owners.
Not just an unpleasant inconvenience, dog faeces contain bacteria that cause stomach illnesses, and roundworms that can lead to seizures and even blindness. Parasites in dog mess are also a big problem for livestock, causing sheep and cows to abort their foetuses.
Professor Adam Hart from the University is an academic partner of the project who will be analysing the data. He's worked on a number of high profile “citizen science" projects including the Big Wasp Survey and the Flying Ant Survey.
Natural Apptitude is a small software company based in Bristol specialising in the design and development of bespoke smartphone apps and websites. They work in an increasing number of industry sectors (principally ecology, medicine, biology and tourism) and have over 40 projects to their name. They have built an excellent reputation in the field of citizen science and many of their projects are centred on public engagement.
University of Gloucestershire Professor of Science Communication, Adam Hart, said:
“Currently we have very little idea of the scale of the problem, its distribution, the links to other wildlife issues and how we can cost-effectively tackle it. It is a more unusual form of citizen science that's for sure, but we are hoping that lots of people will become “pooper snoopers" and help to provide the data we need to change behaviour and improve the environment for everyone".
CEO of Natural Apptitude, Dave Kilbey says:
“We all need to take more responsibility for our pets. By highlighting just how bad the problem is, building up a better sense of social responsibly and helping councils to more easily target limited enforcement activities in the worst affected areas we hope to drive that change forward."
Pooper Scooper launched with the Bristol City Council's 'Bristol Clean Streets' campaign on 22nd March, part of the Great Bristol Spring Clean campaign. People wanting to take part in the project can download Pooper Snooper from the App Store and Google Play or visit the official website.