Tidy town issues warning to owners about dog fouling

Ireland’s tidiest town is to get tough with dog owners who do not clean up after their pets foul footpaths and walkways.

Killarney has begun an all-out effort to retain the top Tidy Towns’ prize it won for the first time last year but “dog littering” is becoming a worsening problem, the local authority has heard.

Two years ago, dung catchers were controversially attached to jaunting cars in the Kerry town and have largely succeeded in removing horse dung from the town’s streets and Killarney National Park.

Now a campaign is underway to ensure owners remove canine faeces.

Councillor Cathal Walshe told this week’s Killarney Town Council meeting that the amount of dog fouling on the streets was “incredible”. He called for a bylaw to oblige dog owners to carry pooper-scoopers.

Cllr Niall O’Callaghan called for the appointment of a dedicated litter warden, with responsibilities to include dog fouling.

But town manager John Breen felt it would be more beneficial if council staff issued fines to offenders.

The Litter Pollution Act obliged owners to clean up dog fouling, with a €125 fine for offenders, he said.

Councillors, however, pointed to possible difficulties for staff after it was explained if alleged offenders refused to give their names, staff would have to ask them to accompany them to a garda station. Mayor Sean Counihan said: “We need to make people aware a law exists and that it will cost them if they allow their dogs to foul.”

Meanwhile, concerns are being raised about high levels of dog fouling in a newly-developed walkway in Killarney National Park, extending from Killarney to Fossa, which cost almost €500,000 to complete.

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