LITTER Free Dorset has launched a 'Don't Poop and Run' campaign aimed at dog owners.

The initiative, to ensure dog faeces is bagged and binned by owners, is also raising awareness that bagged poop can be disposed of in any public waste bin – not just in specific dog waste bins.

Sophie Colley from Litter Free Dorset said: "Stepping in dog poo definitely isn’t funny however we do hope that through humour we can attract people’s attention and change littering behaviour.

"The tagline ‘Don’t Poop and Run’ is a take on urban slang ‘Grab and Run’ and the hashtag ‘Bag it Bin it’ gives a simple call to action."

Aside from being a pain to clean off shoes, dog faeces contains harmful bacteria, that if not bagged and binned correctly, can cause illness and diseases that affect other dogs, grazing animals and humans.

In extreme cases people have even become blind after being infected.

Dorset veterinary surgeon Barry O'Mahoney, of Bredy Vets, said: "Neosporosis is a parasitic disease and is the most frequently diagnosed cause of abortion in cattle in the UK.

"Cattle can be infected without showing clinical signs and infection can enter the herd either through environmental contamination from dog poo or through the purchase of infected animals.

"If your dog does a poo on grazing land – even if no cattle are grazing on it at the time ­– please remove and dispose of it.”

Water quality can also be impacted by the bacteria found in dog mess, experts say. This can cause river and sea users, such as swimmers, paddleboarders and kayakers to become ill after being exposed to the bacteria.

Litter Free Dorset also says that dog waste bags that have been incorrectly disposed of do not only contribute to plastic pollution, but the bags can be mistaken as food by animals and livestock, causing choking, blockages and ultimately death.