Cork County Council officials are exploring creating dog-free walking areas in towns and villages in an attempt to cut down on dog fouling.
They also said members of the public should be prepared to go to court to help convict dog owners who do not clean up after their pets, as the council does not have the resources to combat dog fouling on its own.
A meeting of the Charleville/Fermoy municipal district council heard not one dog fouling fine was issued in the district in the whole of 2017.
Two traffic wardens, who also operate as litter wardens, are employed in towns in the district. However, they are so busy with traffic matters that they cannot dedicate time to addressing litter or dog fouling.
Municipal district officer Pauline Moriarty said in 2017 they only issued three litter fines, just one of which had been paid and issued no dog fouling fines.
She was replying to a query on dog fouling from Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre O’Brien who said she was disappointed with the figures.
However, Ms Moriarty explained most dog fouling took place outside the hours the traffic wardens operated and it was also difficult to identify owners.
She said education was needed and that the public needed to help by reporting incidents and being prepared to give evidence in court.
Municipal district council chairman, Fianna Fáil councillor Frank O’Flynn, said there were a long list of areas where dog fouling was a big issue.
He said all dogs, apart from guide dogs, are barred from council-run cemeteries and the council might have the legal right to extend such bans to other areas.
At this point, senior council officials said they would explore the possibilities of this.
They said they might be able to use the powers they have in their environmental section to restrict dog walking in areas were there is a high prevalence of dog fouling.
Officials said they would report back.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved