A man who runs special historic walking tours in a harbour town has described how “embarrassed” he is at having to constantly point out dog excrement on its streets to visiting tourists so they don't step in it.
The situation has become so bad in Cobh, County Cork that the local municipal district council has decided to fund an "educational competition" in local schools to design anti-dog fouling signs.
The debate on dog poo was sparked at a Cobh/Glanmire Municipal District Council meeting by Cllr Kieran McCarthy. He runs Cork Rebel Walking Tours, which focuses on the town's War of Independence and regularly takes foreign tourists on the tours, especially ones who disembark from the many cruise liners which dock at Cobh's deepwater quay.
During general discussion on the municipal district council's anti-litter campaign, Cllr McCarthy said dog poo is becoming a major issue. He said he was recently taking a group of visiting American on a tour and was "embarrassed" by the amount of it on the footpaths: "I had to point to it or they'd walk into it."
This is despite the fact that the council provides free poo bags and special bins around the town for them. Municipal officials said they understand his concerns but don't have the resources or funding to clean up footpaths every day. Senior executive officer, Sean O'Callaghan, said: "It's a problem in every town."
Cllr Shepperd asked that the Council would allocate in the region of €2,500 from pay parking to fund a “pick up after your dog” signage initiative in the town and the Great Island area in general: "I have spoken to parents and to the principals at the schools. This would be educational as well. We could get all the schools to take part in an art competition and the winner will get their signs put up. I think it's something novel and will show we're proactive."
Cllr Diarmaid Ó Cadhla suggested there should be more than one type of sign put up, adding that they could pick four or five and put them into a montage. This was agreed.
Cllr Shepperd also complained that litter bins are overflowing. She was told by officials that people dump bags of domestic rubbish in them. The Council is looking at reducing the size of the openings to prevent this. However, they warned that if the dumping of household waste persists they might have to remove the litter bins altogether.