Cork County Council is to enter talks to set up a 'poo patrol' to catch dog owners letting their animals foul in public places.
The idea has been floated by Councillor Danielle Twomey (SF) who has called for a budgeted task force, comprising of County Council officials and councillors in each municipal district to be given the primary role of targeting a reduction in dog poo on streets and in public places.
“Dog fouling is a huge issue in all constituencies in Cork. I am bombarded with calls on this on a daily basis. It's extremely frustrating that no head-on approach has been taken by Cork County Council to tackle this problem,” said Ms Twomey.
“It is a health hazard to young children, wheelchair and pushchair issues. The responsibility lies with the dog owners but we need to do something because the problem is getting worse.” Ms Twomey added that bylaws are in place in some UK local authorities stipulating that dogs must be kept on leads in public areas and machines are available to clean up dog fouling.
Audio messages are also used to warn the public in Finglas County Council.
Seamus McGrath (FF) called for the Council to assign more budget funds to the problem and increase enforcement.
“We are not putting enough resources into this issue and we are not putting enough resources into litter enforcement either. The resources we do put in relate more to promoting good behaviour where I think we need to focus more on enforcement,” he added.
“We need to let dog owners know that if they don't practice good behaviour there is a risk of being caught. That fear is not there.” Mr McGrath added that more dog wardens are needed and highlighted an inconsistency in the provision of dog fouling bins which are present in some areas but not in others.
Other councillors want to go a step further and publish the names of offending dog owners on a regular basis.
Derry Canty (FG) said: “For years we have been talking about his. Unless we name and shame it won't change. In Ballincollig, we have park runs, walkers and joggers and it's disgusting to see people having to clean dog poo off the wheels of prams.
“It's the attitude of some dog owners. Let's put in the paper the amount of people that are being fined and that will stop it at the source”.
The matter of setting up a task force will now be sent for discussion to Cork County Council's Environmental SPC for consideration.