New approach to tackle dog fouling sought as city council issues just one fine in six months

Figures obtained by The Echo, show that, as of the end of June, the local authority has issued one fine to a person who failed to pick up after a dog in their care
New approach to tackle dog fouling sought as city council issues just one fine in six months

A council spokesperson explained that, alternatively, a member of the public who witnesses a dog fouling offence can make a complaint to the litter warden or litter management section.

CALLS for a new approach to tackle dog fouling have been made after it was revealed that Cork City Council has issued just one fine in the first six months of the year.

Figures obtained by The Echo, show that, as of the end of June, the local authority has issued one fine to a person who failed to pick up after a dog in their care.

In 2021, a total of two fines were issued by the city council.

Commenting on the figures, Labour local area rep Peter Horgan called for changes to be made to the current laws to better crack down on the issue.

“We need enforcement and a changing of bylaws at local and national level to send a message that dog fouling cannot be tolerated.

Responding to previous stories on the issue, a spokesperson for Cork City Council said that, to issue a fine, the litter warden “must actually witness both the dog depositing faeces and the person in control of the dog neglecting to remove the faeces”.

“The practicalities associated with this mean that it is almost impossible to issue fines for such offences,” they added.

The council spokesperson explained that, alternatively, a member of the public who witnesses a dog fouling offence can make a complaint to the litter warden or litter management section.

However, the spokesperson went on to add that, in such a case, a fine can only be issued “if the complainant can provide the identity and address of the person who was in charge of the dog at the time, and if the complainant is prepared to go to court if necessary and give evidence”.

COURT REQUIREMENT 'BARRIER' TO COMPLAINTS

“The legal requirement for the complainant to go to court in such cases is a barrier for members of the public proceeding with their complaint as anonymity is often required by members of the public who report such instances,” the spokesperson added.

Green Party councillor Oliver Moran said residents in the Gardiner’s Hill area have been experimenting with an initiative over the summer aimed at reducing incidents of dog fouling.

“In the Gardiner’s Hill area over summer, residents took part in an initiative that I was able to facilitate with city officials.

“Over a six-week period, they surveyed the area each week and highlighted dog fouling they found with special brightly coloured paint.

“It’s a well-worn approach that highlights the problem and lets those who leave it there know it’s seen. The amount of dog fouling they found being left in the area dropped as a result,” he said.

Mr Moran said that over the course of the six weeks, residents saw dog fouling left on the footpath drop by two thirds.

They found 17 incidents in week one, which reduced to six incidents in the final week.

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