Hard-Hitting Campaign Needed to Reduce Dog-Fouling
Writes Ciaran Dineen
(See Our Separate Report On Page 8)
A strong and direct campaign message is needed in the Carrigdhoun area in order to reduce the prevalent dog-fouling that is rampant across the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD), area according to local Councillors.
Over the last couple of months the issue has arisen at a few MD area meetings in County Hall with Councillors indicating that they have been inundated with complaints from local residents across the district.
In May’s council meeting Councillor Audrey Buckley (FF) was the first of the public representatives to refer to the dog-fouling issue, querying whether the Council could become more active in dealing with the problem. She also noted how a local business were interested in supplying their own fouling-specific bins, if the Council were willing to empty them.
However, this then divulged into a series of back and forth exchanges between councillors and council officials, the latter of whom indicated that the Council would not be getting involved with dog-fouling disposal, other than from waste removal of County Council bins.
Councillor Buckley also questioned whether fouling-bag stations could be installed in various places around the area, but other Councillors interjected saying that unfortunately this had been done in the past and stations had been vandalised to a degree where they were no longer a viable option.
Councillor Seamus McGrath at the time agreed that this was a considerable concern in the community and believed that the topic needed to be addressed on a wider level that didn’t just involve providing extra bins. As a result it was agreed by the MD that they would seek a report from the County Dog Warden’s office ahead of their June meeting.
Carrigaline District Records 10 Fixed Notices
At the meeting in question which took place recently, Councillors were issued with a report from Don Kelly, one of the County’s dog wardens. Attendees were informed that there had been a daily presence of a warden across the Carrigaline district over the previous six weeks, much to the surprise of the Councillors, who noted the rare and infrequent sightings. Nevertheless, they were informed that 10 notices had been issued during such time in relation to alleged breaches of Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997.
Prior to the Covid-19 restrictions, the report noted that wardens “performed targeted group activities” where they would call from door to door on a random basis to “promote responsible dog ownership, highlight local issues, check for valid dog licences and create a presence in localities”.
However, Councillor Buckley, was frustrated with the response, claiming that the report did not address the issue itself, noting that it was exasperating for residents who live in areas where dog-fouling is now more prevalent than ever, particularly along coastal areas.
Strong Awareness Campaign Needed
Councillor Liam O’Connor (FG) suggested that a County-wide message across the media now needs to be pushed in order to highlight the message. Cllr McGrath agreed but noted that this message could not be a “fluffy campaign” that has previously failed to hit home the genuine and serious health concerns that can arise from dog-fouling. Councillor Aidan Lombard (FG) agreed, going on to add that previous campaigns in the past had been “weak” and that at this stage it was necessary “to embarrass the life out of people” who do not pick up their animals’ waste.
Councillor Marcia D’Alton added that there was evidence of a successful strategy that worked well with very effective and graphic posters with images to shed light on the issue, and she informed the Council officers that these may still be on record if they wanted to use them again.
Through the MD Chair, Cllr McGrath, the members agreed to send a request in writing that someone from the Dog Warden services could come before Councillors at a divisional meeting where their views for a hard-hitting media campaign could be shared.