Kerry's war on dog fouling
There's something foul in the air and Kerry County Council has had enough of it - so much so that it has launched a month long campaign to help address the problem.
Of course, we're talking about the long running battle against dog fouling that has plagued Kerry for far too long. It is an issue that has been raised at countless council meetings over the years and while the local authority has responded with a number of initiatives, the problem remains as bad as ever as dog owners continue to brazenly flaunt the rules.
The latest campaign aims to change the attitudes of dog owners who take the serious issue of dog fouling too lightly.
"Everyone who owns a dog has a clear responsibility to clear up the waste their dog may generate. Dog foul is smelly, unsightly and can cause considerable inconvenience for those who walk or cycle on it," said Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council John Sheahan.
"Parents pushing small children in buggies also encounter problems with dog foul on the wheels of the buggy.
"The message is 'clean up after your dog for health, safety and environmental reasons'," he finished. The new campaign highlights the responsibilities that dog owners have in relation to the collection of all dog foul in public areas.
Through local media and social media, dog owners will be encouraged to clean up after their dogs and will be reminded that on-the-spot fines are applicable where an offence occurs. A fine of €150 can be applied by a litter warden in such a case.
"Dog foul is unsightly, unpleasant for those who encounter it and is a major concern for walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users. For wheelchair users and the visually impaired it can take up to two hours to clean up the mess after coming in contact with dog foul," literature from the council states.
"Further problems include a serious risk to children being exposed to worms in dog foul leading to toxicariasis which in turn can cause blindness. Pedestrians slipping in dog foul have also suffered injuries."
Tralee Access Group member George Dineen operates a mechanical wheelchair and he is has urged offending dog owners to think of others first.
"Sometimes it is impossible to avoid the dog foul if the path is narrow and I have to drive straight through it. It can be very embarrassing for me if I am in a shop afterwards and there is a horrible smell," George explained.
"I worry then if I have carried the dog foul into the shop on my wheels. Invariably the carer must clean the wheels and clean and vent out the smell from the vehicle they were travelling in after they get home," he added.