Only one fine has been issued in seven years
A councillor in Cork has spoke out about his outrage over dog fouling and the lack of enforcement of litter fines.
Cllr Ken O'Flynn (FF) said people in his area are constantly being affected by the issue, particularly those in wheelchairs and zimmerframes.
"One constituent of mine, his son is in a wheelchair and he has to have his hands disinfected by a teacher every day in school. His wheelchair is constantly gathering dog poo due to people not bothering to clean up after themselves, it's disgraceful," he told Independent.ie.
Figures published recently revealed that Cork County Council spent €32,571 on a new dog fouling campaign in 2016.
The campaign focused on radio and cinema adverts and school art competitions.
However, Mr O'Flynn said that money would have been better spent on employing a new litter warden for the city as currently there is only one litter warden employed by the council.
Only one fine has been issued in seven years for the offence in the rebel county - a €150 fine on March 8, 2017.
In February, a woman, who asked not to be named, said she suffered bad bruising to her wrist after slipping on dog waste.
"I slipped on waste, badly injuring my wrist. The Blarney Street area was badly littered with dog waste that day, it was everywhere and unavoidable," she told Independent.ie.
"At the start of the following week I presented at Cork County Council and showed litter staff my bruised and swollen wrist and asked for Blarney Street to be cleaned."
She sent further correspondence to the Council - asking why they do not enforce more fines for the offence.
They responded: "The difficulty in issuing fines lies in the fact that the litter wardens must witness the offence or a member of the public must be willing to come forward as a witness and be willing to give evidence in court.
"Cork City Council takes the issue of dog fouling seriously and has established a sub committee of Council to address the issue."
Dog fouling is illegal under the Litter Pollution Act 1997.
Those who are caught receive an on the spot fine but as highlighted by the council, they must be caught in the act.
Cllr O'Flynn is calling for Ireland to introduce similar mechanisms to Malaga in Spain, where a DNA database is being implemented to help track down the pets responsible and fine their owners.
"At present, it is easier to win the lotto in Cork than get a fine for dog fouling," he said.
"It is very dangerous for children. It has serious implications when it comes to blindness. Something needs to be done soon."