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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Zero dog fouling fines issued by council so far this year (78 were issued back in 2016)

This year’s figure was confirmed in correspondence to Councillor Colm O’Rourke from Dublin City Council.

Image: Shutterstock/Monika Wisniewska

NEW FIGURES SHOW that no dog fouling fines were issued in Dublin City so far this year. 

This figure compares to four fines being issued in 2018, 23 being issued in 2017 and 78 being issued in 2016. 

This year’s figure was confirmed in correspondence to Councillor Colm O’Rourke from Dublin City Council. 

The council said in a statement to O’Rourke that “whilst no fines have been issued this year for dog fouling, Dublin City Council are in the process of organising an anti-dog fouling awareness campaign”. 

Last year, all four fines were issued in Dublin Central. In years previous, the majority of fines had been issued in Dublin South Central. 

“Dog dirt is an issue right across the city and residents are regularly in contact with me about it,” O’Rourke, a councillor for the Cabra-Glasnevin ward, said. 

“There are times when pavements turn into an obstacle course due to some dog owners not cleaning up after their dog,” he said. 

O’Rourke said there is “definitely more to be done in terms of education” and said that “any campaign to try and tackle this issue would be most welcome”. 

“Responsibility goes hand in hand with owning a dog and I urge dog owners to show pride in our city and scoop the poop,” he said. 

€150 fine

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. 

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.

Speaking last year, Dublin City Councillor Patrick Costello suggested that dog fouling fines should be increased. 

“We need to look at whether the fine is enough. On the fines issues, if you don’t think you’re going to get caught, you know, there’s pretty low risk. You need to increase the risk by increasing the size of the fine,” he said. 

Government action

In May 2017, then-Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten said that he was allocating extra resources to tackle the prevalence of dog poo on our streets. 

Speaking before the Seanad, Naughten said he intended 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 had 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 had been successful across Roscommon.

In the statement to O’Rourke, the council confirmed that it is carrying out its own awareness campaign in the Dublin south central, south east and north central areas. 

“The Litter Management Office continue to promote the Green Dog Walker scheme by assisting the area offices at dog shows throughout the year,” the council said.

It noted that free doggie bags are available at all libraries and bring centres in the city. They are also available at all Dublin City Council offices. 

TheJournal.ie has contacted Dublin City Council for comment.

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