Cork dog owners could be legally required to carry bags to clean up after their pet

Litter wardens to also be given powers to demand proof that people are carrying dog waste bags

It is hoped the new bye-laws will address the issue of people not cleaning up dog fouling, a problem that Cllr Noel McCarthy said “seems to be getting worse and worse”.

Bill BrowneCorkman

Dog owners in Cork could soon be legally required to carry bags to pick up and dispose of fouling under new bye-laws set to be introduced across the city and county.

The new legislation will also give litter wardens powers to request that the owners prove they are carrying bags to clean up dog fouling.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting of Cork County Council, Cllr Noel McCarthy (FG) said the problem of dog fouling on streets, in estates and on playing pitches “seems to be getting worse and worse”.

“As councillors we are inundated with calls from members of the public asking that some action be taken to address the problem. In fairness, the majority of owners do pick up dog mess but there is a sizable minority of people who do not. This is not just a littering issue, it is also a serious health hazard,” said Cllr McCarthy.

“Judging by the amount of calls I have been receiving, it is a problem that seems to be getting worse and worse,” he added.

Cllr McCarthy pointed out that in many other countries it is now mandatory for owners to carry bags to clean up dog fouling, asking if that was something that could be introduced here.

“The threat of prosecution would take care of the excuse that a dog owner had ‘forgotten’ to bring a bag with them,” he added.

Cllr Kay Dawson (FG) also called for a mechanism to be introduced that placed the onus firmly on owners to clean up dog mess.

The head of Cork County Council’s environmental services directorate, Louis Duffy, said the Cork City and County Management Association (CCMA) working group has been actively seeking a solution to the problem.

“They have proposed that it be a legal requirement that people carry bags to clean up dog fouling and that wardens be given powers to request proof that they have them,” said Mr Duffy.

“The final submission is due to be lodged with the Department, so changes to the legislation will be made and the mandatory carrying of waste bags will be among them,” said Mr Duffy.

“My only concern is that people who do use the bags will not want to then carry them to a bin. But, I suppose every little step will help,” he added.