Cork Councillors want to name and shame those prosecuted for not clearing up dog fouling

Cork Councillors want to name and shame those prosecuted for not clearing up dog fouling

Cork County Council is seeking permission to become the first local authority in the country to name and shame pet owners who are prosecuted for not clearing up dog faeces.

Many councillors said they now felt a naming and shaming policy was the only way they were going to stamp out the problem which is blighting many towns and villages in the county.

Members of the council's Northern Division have decided to write to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment seeking permission for the move.

Cllr John Paul O'Shea proposed this after initially being told by the council's head of environment, Louis Duffy, that previous correspondence they had received from the department said it wasn't advisable to name and shame those prosecuted on the council's website, or provide a regular list of culprits found guilty by the courts to the media.

Cllr O'Shea said that was completely unacceptable as far as he was concerned.

He pointed out that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland regularly provides the media with lists of closure orders for breeches of food safety legislation.

He added that Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) did the same for successful prosecutions following pollution which caused fish kills and added that the ISPCA also did it in cases of successful animal cruelty prosecutions.

Cllr O'Shea maintained that if these bodies could do this then so could the county council.

Mr Duffy said the council had “double digit” prosecutions so far this year for dog fouling and he urged the media to report on them.

But Cllr O'Shea said media outlets were very busy and couldn't spare resources to sit in court all day waiting for such cases.

Cllr Gearoid Murphy suggested the council should send a list of prosecutions to the media.

Meanwhile, Cllr O'Shea also called for the council to use stenciling to paint anti-dog fouling signs on paths and walkways which are regularly used by dog walkers.

"It would remind people to clean up after their dog. It's been done in other parts of Europe. It would be great if we could pilot it. It (dog fouling) has got really out of hand in some towns and villages," Cllr O'Shea said.

Cllr William O'Leary agreed with him and pointed out that walkways along the "beautiful" Doneraile Park was being destroyed by dog fouling.

Cllr James Kennedy was told by Mr Duffy that dog wardens were responsible for taking prosecutions. Cllr Kennedy wondered if the council's traffic wardens should also be given a role in this as well.

Mr Duffy said that Louth County Council had trialled the footpath and walkway signs and had come in for some criticism from the public who had labelled them as 'ugly, cheap and ineffective.'

Cllr O'Shea disagreed, maintaining they would be cheap to create and would be effective.

He view was backed by Northern Division chairman, Cllr Pat Hayes.

Cllr Kay Dawson also thought the exercise would be worthwhile and asked Mr Duffy to at least introduce it on a pilot basis. He said he'd seek a suitable location for this.

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