All the fines were issued during a four-week dog fouling awareness campaign in April and May of last year. Of those, three were paid and one case proceeded to court.
“These four fines have been the only fines issued in respect of dog fouling offences since the Litter Pollution Act 1997 was introduced,” the city council’s director of services for environment and recreation, David Joyce, said. The news emerged at this week’s meeting of Cork City Council in response to a question from FF Cllr Tim Brosnan.
Under Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997, dog owners are responsible for the disposal, in a suitable sanitary manner, of their dog’s faeces if it’s been deposited in a public place. But Mr Joyce said the difficulty in issuing fines under this section of the act is that a litter warden must actually witness both the dog depositing the faeces and the person in control of the dog failing to remove the faeces: “The practicalities associated with this, mean that it is extremely challenging and time-consuming to issue fines for such offences.”
Alternatively, a member of the public who witnesses a dog fouling offence can also make a complaint to the litter warden or to the city’s litter management section.
But Mr Joyce said in such cases, a fine will only issue if the complainant is prepared to go to court and give evidence, if required. Where members of the public can identify a dog fouling blackspot, litter wardens will be deployed, if resources allow.
Other figures presented at Monday’s meeting show that 555 dog licences were issued in the city in November — the highest since 2014. Figures show that the number of dog licences issued in the city has been soaring since July, with 370 issued in August (224 annual licences, 146 online); 350 in September (200 annual, 134 online); 355 in October (229 annual, 11 lifetime licences, 115 online); and 555 in November.