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Sunday 21 September 2014

Talking lamp posts mean 80pc drop in seaside dog fouling

CORMAC MURPHY

Published 14/12/2013 | 07:37

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Audio devices that used to be in lamppost that lead to an 80 percent drop in dog fouling in Baldoyle
Pic:Mark Condren
13.12.2013
Audio devices that used to be in lamppost that lead to an 80 percent drop in dog fouling in Baldoyle Pic:Mark Condren 13.12.2013

THE lamp posts are biting back, it seems.

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Audio devices installed on poles have resulted in an 80pc drop in dog fouling on Baldoyle's seaside walkway.

The machines emit a verbal warning in response to movement and warn passers-by: "Keep Fingal clean and enjoy your walk.

"Dog foul is dangerous for children. Please clean up after your dog."

The initiative came about as part of a study carried out by Fingal County Council in conjunction with researchers from NUI Maynooth and RiteView Solutions Ltd.

It involved measuring the amount of fouling before and during a trial period earlier this year.

Fine Gael councillor Kieran Dennison said: "Littering and dog fouling accounts for a lot of complaints from the public. It is a public health issue.

"The 82pc reduction in the trial is very impressive but significantly many dog owners are still prepared to let their pets foul the public pathways."

Other aspects of the research involved testing various types of covert surveillance that could be used to catch illegal dumpers.

Mr Dennison added: "I expect to get a full report on the trial in the New Year after which we will look at deploying new technology to apprehend those who think nothing of littering and dumping on the rest of us.

"Noting the success of the initiative in Baldoyle, a council spokesman said it was the first local authority in the country to pilot the use of audio devices to combat dog fouling."

He added: "It is recognised that combating dog fouling poses a significant challenge. Enforcement alone will not solve this problem. Education and awareness, resulting in behavioural change, is much more likely to achieve a much more positive long-term outcome."

The research showed between 3,700 and 3,800 people use the promenade each week.

Nearly 9pc of these are dog walkers, which equates to an average of 48 dogs per day.

The incidence of dog fouling went down from 76 per week before the installation of the audio devices to an average of 14 afterwards.

The improvements were sustained over the summer months into September.

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