Friends know him as Andrew Hawes, but pet owners fear him as “The Turnidator.”
Hawes, who lives in Suffolk, England, has made it his personal mission to clean the streets, yards, and parks of dog poo. He hides in the bushes wearing camouflage and watches for someone to neglect picking up their dog’s mess. Then, he nabs the poo-petrators in the act.
"If they don't clear up after their dog I'll pop out of the hedge and say 'excuse me, could you please clean up after your dog. You're being filmed, if you clean up the film will be deleted straight away—if not you'll be posted on my Facebook page for people to identify and then you'll be reported to the police,'" BBC reported him saying.
Meet the Turdinator: Man dons camouflage to photograph pet owners not clearing up after letting their dogs foul public spaces. http://bbc.in/1SY77S7. Listen to his story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02ys6gsPosted by BBC Suffolk on Monday, August 3, 2015
The Facebook page he refers to is called Leiston Dog Mess Name & Shame, where the 500+ community members try to keep the streets clean of dog poo, spreading the word and going as far as shaming individuals and spraying messages on streets with water-based paint that read “Clean it up.”
In a BBC podcast (scroll down to listen), Hawes tells about his frustration trying to keep this problem at bay. He describes being distraught after cleaning one area but finding more dog mess there upon returning later. “I cried because there’s no respect,” he says. After that incident, he decided to try to catch people in the act. “I just thought it would be a good idea to stand discreetly in the hedge.”
Some have criticized him, calling his actions an invasion of privacy. But others salute him, including Hugh Grant, who called him his “hero” on Twitter.
My hero. http://t.co/1TQ9vsMCGg— Hugh Grant (@HackedOffHugh) August 4, 2015
This is not the first time extreme measure that has been taken to name and punish careless dog owners. In Brooklyn, a condo building now requires dog owners to have their pet’s DNA tested so that any messes left behind can be traced back to the owner. The ruling and ensuing controversy, which The New York Times reported on, had pet owners upset, many fearing that the DNA would be used to ban certain breeds, as an Upper West Side co-op board threatened to do earlier this summer. Still, the Brooklyn building started enforcing the rule in May, charging owners whose dog is linked to excrement left behind a $250 fine.
A similar program is being used in Seattle at multiple apartment buildings. And the company who provides the testing kits, BioPet Vet Lab, claims this type of poo-policing is popular in several other states, including Miami, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
Hear a Podcast with Hawes here: