'Filthy, disgusting and disgraceful'
Local claims there's dog dirt 'everywhere' at Tinahely woods
A Tinahely mother of three has called for action to be take to clean up what she described as a 'filthy, disgusting and disgraceful' Tomnafinnoge Wood on the outskirts of the village.
The woman, who does not wish to be named, said that she can no longer bring her children there for days out as they cannot walk a step without stepping in excrement left by dogs and their careless owners.
'Last year my daughter came home with dog poo all over her and I had to disinfect the whole place. We stayed away for ages afterwards and then recently we went back and I was appalled to see that it was even worse out there. There is literally dog poo everywhere. People don't clean up after their dogs and it is left there for everyone else to step around,' she said.
The woman said that she had intended to being a relative with small children to the woods for a day out and picnic and was embarrassed when she had to change plans due to the condition of the River Walk.
'After the last few experiences, I had thought that I better go and check it out before I brought my cousin and her kids. It was desperate, absolutely disgusting with dog poo, so we couldn't go. I was mortified. This is supposed to be a wonderful community walk for everyone to enjoy but the people with dogs are making it impossible for others,' she said.
The woman said that she contacted Wicklow County Council and local elected representatives on the matter.
Cllr Vincent Blake said that the wood was previously under the care of the OPW and now rests with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to whom he intends to report the matter.
A spokesperson for the Department said that, at present, there is no specific legislation for the control of dogs in national parks but that under the Control of Dogs Acts 1986 and 1992 and the Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 (dealing with certain breeds of dogs) are applicable to all public places and that Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997, dealing with the disposal of faeces, applies to recreational and leisure areas.
'The Department expects all dog owners to control their dogs in accordance with the Control of Dogs Acts 1986 and 1992 and I believe that there is signage in some of the national parks warning the public to control their dogs. NPWS staff do speak with dog owners when encountered and generally most people are friendly and eager to co-operate with any initiative we might bring forward. However, there is a minority of users who ignore best practice and as stated above we do not have powers to compel cooperation. Raising awareness and education in relation to the uses of our sites as to what we would expect of responsible dog users is very important,' the spokesperson said.
'In the medium to long term, the Department proposes introducing national parks legislation and in that context could also introduce bye-laws regulating various activities, including the control of dogs, within the parks,' she added.