North Devon Council has issued an apology after accusations the use of ‘dog fouling matters’ as a slogan on posters ‘undermined’ the Black Lives Matter movement.
The slogan has been used by the council on some of its posters for the past 18 months - before the BLM movement gained prominence - as part of its campaign to encourage dog owners to pick up after their pets.
But following the increased prominence of the Black Lives Matter campaign after the death of George Floyd in America, a complaint was made to the council urging them to re-think the wording on the posters.
Writing to the council, Yasmin Beck urged them to reconsider the choice of words on the dog fouling poster, ‘as those words are currently taken by a rather important cause fighting for equality and justice.’
She added: “Unfortunately your slogan ‘dog fouling matters’ uses a satirical play on words which undermines the Black Lives Matter movement. This poster gives a feel of pointing a laughing finger at the many people driving forwards for positive change.
“Take them down and loudly show your support. Let’s get North Devon Council behind this movement, rather than looking as though they’re snickering at it.”
In response, a North Devon Council spokesman apologised for any offence caused and said that any similarity in the wording was a coincidence as the posters have been up for 18 months.
They added: “We are sorry for any offence which may have been caused by the wording on some of our dog fouling stickers. This poster was developed a while ago when the prominence of the Black Lives Matter campaign was not as large as it has been recently and the posters have been up around the district for approximately 18 months.
“The posters were certainly not intended to piggyback off the Black Lives Matter movement and any similarity in the wording is coincidence. North Devon Council recognises the importance of the Black Lives Matter campaign and fully supports the movement.
“We hope that the complainant will understand that there was never any intention to cause offence, and we are happy to take feedback from the public on board so will raise this with the relevant team to consider for any future posters.”