| 2.4°C Dublin

Ban dogs from all public places

It is seldom that I agree with Ian O'Doherty; however, he is spot on when he explains why dog owners have such a bad reputation.

I am acutely aware of the dog fouling problem because I have to keep my eyes peeled at all times while walking in Limerick city. It gets a bad rap for litter in general, but it takes the biscuit when it comes to dog faeces.

O'Doherty highlighted the worst aspect of this problem -- the risk to public health from toxocariasis.

Children are the group most at risk of contracting the disease. Recently, a caller to the 'Gerry Ryan Show' talked about her son's blindness, caused by the disease. It was truly shocking to listen to her story and to know that the responsibility lay with a dog owner.

I don't agree that women dog owners are the worst offenders, but it is clear that so-called respectable people are the worst culprits. They go for a walk, slip the leash off the dog -- usually under cover of night -- then feign ignorance after the dirty deed has been committed.

I have travelled a lot and I know that this is not a common problem in other developed countries. In Paris, dog ownership plummeted when the authorities got tough with offenders.

I suggest that the only solution to this disgusting public health problem is to ban dogs from all public places.

Frank McNamara
Ballincurra, Limerick

Irish Independent