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Local councils are getting help to rid dog poo from our streets

Not picking up after your dog can land you with a fine of up to €150.

If your dog fouls inside your home, you would not contemplate for a second not cleaning it up, yet so many owners simply do not apply the same logic when they are walking their dogs in public for some unfathomable reason.

THESE ARE THE words from Communications, Climate Action and Environment Minister Denis Naughten who last night announced that he is allocating extra resources to tackle the prevalence of dog poo on our streets.

Speaking in the Seanad yesterday evening, the minister said the scourge of dog fouling “is a particular bugbear” of his.

Irresponsible dog owners who ignore the law and allow their pets to foul the streets are posing a health risk to young children, according to the minister.

Fine of €150 

Although it is an offence under section 22 of the Litter Pollution Acts not to clean up after your dog has fouled (which can result in an on-the-spot fine of €150 or a summary conviction to a fine up to €4,000) the reality is that many dog owners are not doing so.

Statistically, dog poo represented just 1.22% of overall litter in 2016. Despite this low figure, the minister said he believed it is the most intrusive type of litter.

shutterstock_429281701 Source: Shutterstock/Monika Wisniewska

“Dog faeces contain bacteria and worms which can be particularly harmful to young children. It is picked up on the wheels of bikes and buggies and is brought into homes across the country. It is also a particular problem for wheelchair users,” he said.

Toxocariasis is an infection caused by roundworm parasites. It is spread from animals to humans via infected faeces. Young children are particularly at risk of getting toxocariasis because their play habits make them more likely to come into contact with contaminated soil.

No excuse 

“Some dog owners seem to think it is acceptable for their dog to foul and just walk on. This is disgusting, dangerous to human health and completely antisocial,” said Naughten, who added that there is no excuse for it.

In a bid to tackle the issue of dog poo on the streets, in the parks and on beaches, he said he intends to “allocate extra resources to local authorities under the Environment Fund and capital resources to roll-out initiatives to combat the problem”.

He said many initiatives to deal with dog fouling have already been introduced around the country.

These include the provision of signage, talking lamp-posts, dog waste bins and bags and awareness campaigns such as The Green Dog Walkers scheme, which the minister said been successful across Roscommon.

Talking lamp posts with audio devices that remind people to clean up after their dog have been installed on poles at locations including Baldoyle, Fingal, Mullingar, Athlone, Lahinch, Kilkee, and Limerick.

“With a dog comes pleasure, but also responsibility and I would urge owners to show some pride and clean up after their dog,” concluded Naughten.

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