Funding for enforcement urged on dog fouling issue

The Government has given almost €900,000 to councils around the country to tackle litter, graffiti, and dog fouling.

Funding for enforcement urged on dog fouling issue

However, in Cork, the Labour Party’s Peter Horgan has warned that the funding will be of little use in preventing dog fouling if the money is used for an awareness campaign instead of enforcement.

Mr Horgan has called for a new by-law that would fine anyone with a dog in public without any means of cleaning up their mess.

Environment Minister Denis Naughten yesterday announced the allocation of €884,000 from the Environment Fund to 31 local authorities under the 2018 Anti-Litter and Anti-Graffiti Awareness Grant Scheme (ALAGS).

The minister singled out dog fouling as “a particular bugbear”.

“Dog fouling is perhaps the most intrusive type of litter and a constant source of annoyance for us all on our streets, in our parks and on our beaches,” he said.

“I welcome any initiatives that will increase awareness of this nuisance litter and the many public health risks, particularly for children, that is associated with dog owners not picking up their dog’s waste.”

However, in Cork, Mr Horgan, a Labour party local area representative, said the city council’s allocation of €36,000 must go towards enforcement rather than just awareness campaigns.

“People are aware of dog fouling, we can be guaranteed of that,” Mr Horgan said.

“I am speaking to people week on week who are encountering it right around the city in all places with their children at particular risk. Rather than another ad campaign, the council should take this allocation and ensure litter wardens are allocated overtime to patrol problematic areas in a sharp campaign with fines issued.

The main problem remains that the burden of proof of dog fouling is too high. A simple by-law stating that anyone in control of a dog not carrying a bag or instrument to clean up will be subject to a fine.

“We can’t continue to have the lip service on this matter when the health implications are so high. Council could enact this by-law by the end of May if it wanted and co-ordinate the enforcement campaign at the same time. I believe it would have far more impact than another round of ad campaigns.”

Meanwhile, Dogs Trust has invited Tidy Towns committees to apply for its ‘Big Scoop Award’, which will be given to the community that demonstrates the most creative and sustainable way of dealing with the issue of dog fouling in their community.

A recent Behaviour and Attitudes survey found that seven in 10 people claimed to have walked in dog excrement on the street, 60% in a park, 44% in the house, 43% in the local children’s park, 24% rolled a buggy through it, 20% rolled a bicycle through it, and 10% rolled their wheelchair through it.

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