The BBC herded a pack of dogs into a residential street and encouraged them to foul the pavement as part of a television programme about council cuts.
The producers of the show, called The Street That Cut Everything, bussed in the dogs and their owners to a cul-de-sac in Fulwood, Preston, to see how its residents would cope if all council services, including street cleaners, were taken away from them.
The owners were not allowed to use poop scoopers to clean up after their pets.
Now, the BBC has drawn criticism from several quarters. Dorothy Kelk, speaking on behalf Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth, complained:
“Dog excrement fouling a road is unhygienic and can cause illness in young children. Everyone should be very concerned to learn of this action.”
“The action of the broadcaster seems extremely irresponsible.”
Residents living on the road in question, which has been renamed The Street for TV, were ordered by producers at North One Television, the company responsible for the programme, not to talk about the matter to reporters.
The Conservative leader of Preston Council, Ken Hudson, also weighed in:
“I think we have sufficient problems trying to regulate people to collect dog droppings without artificially manufacturing a programme which causes effluent on the streets.”
Adding that people living on the street had cleared the excrement up themselves, he said:
“The residents know there is not going to be any council services and the thing is it is almost like the Big Society.”
“It shows residents can get on and deal with things for themselves as a community group for the environment in which they live.”
“But there are just too many dogs for such a small area of the city but clearly if there had not been any dog muck there could not have been a programme.”
The programme will be no-one’s idea of ideal tea-time viewing, but it was defended by a BBC spokesman, who said:
“The filming of the dog-walking scene demonstrates in exaggerated form one of the challenges residents would face if street-cleaning services were cut.”
“The residents rose to the challenge and cleaned up the small amount of dog dirt extremely quickly.”
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