Sunday 15 September 2019

Council defends dog fouling signs on streets

Margaret Roddy

Louth County Council has defended its actions in spraying painting anti-dog fouling signs on footpaths in towns and villages around the county after coming into criticism from a number of local Tidy Town's committees.

Blackrock Tidy Towns were highly critical after the blue signs were spray painted on a number of locations, including the promenade, branding them as 'too big, cheap and unsophisticated, and in-you-face.' A spokesperson for Dundalk Tidy Towns said that they hadn't been told about the signs before they appeared and that they would prefer to see the Council erecting more bins for dog walkers to put dog poo in. 'People who don't pick up dog poo are not going to pay any attention to those signs,' she said, adding that the imposition of more fines for those who allow their dogs to foul on the streets would be more effective.

However, Catherine Duff, Director of Service with Louth County Council described it as 'a simple yet effective initiative which was introduced in County Louth following its successful roll out in other local authorities, throughout Ireland and the UK.'

'It is a great way to deliver an important message in a friendly and positive way,' she said.

In a statement issued last week Louth County Council noted that while great strides had been made in tackling the issue of dog fouling in public places over the past 20 years, there was still as small percentage of people who don't pick up after their dogs.

Ms Duff said that: 'the colourful stencil initiative by Louth County Councils' Litter Management team aims to raise public awareness to tackle irresponsible dog owners that do not clean up after their dog in public places.

'This highly visual, high impact signage campaign aims to get the attention of the few remaining dog owners who fail to abide by the rules of responsible dog ownership and to generally raise awareness.'

The Council has targeted areas where dogs are normally walked and where dog fouling has been causing a nuisance. The signs were sprayed in eleven locations around the county including Dunleer, Ardee, Clogherhead, Termonfeckin, Tenure, Tullyallen, Collon and more recently in Blackrock, Greenore, Carlingford and Omeath.

The Council Litter Wardens regularly engage in five hour foot patrols in parks and popular dog walking areas, asking dog walkers if they have bags to collect their dog's droppings and if they don't, they will offer them one.

The statement also pointed out that 'Dog waste is not just smelly and unsightly. It can pose a health risk for people, especially children and also for pets and can cause serious pollution problems for water courses.

The council has dealt with 41 complaints around dog fouling in the last three months and has issued seven fines.

Ms. Duff added 'The Council would welcome more members of the public coming forward with details of the owners of dogs who are causing this problem in our public places as this would lead to greater compliance and a better place for us all to live.'

Dog owners or handlers who do not dispose of dog waste in a responsible way could receive an on the spot fine of €150 and failure to pay this fine can lead to prosecution in the District Court with a maximum fine of €3,000.

The Argus