Dog fouling has always been a problem but we aim to tackle the issue once and for all. Not only does dog fouling make our streets and walkways untidy but there are serious health issues, such as toxocariasis, which can cause blindness to children.
We wish to stress and recognise that the vast majority of dog owners do take the appropriate measures to ensure they leave the streets and public walkways clean but it is unfortunate that there are a minority of dog owners who are irresponsible in this matter.
The current legislation, Litter NI Act 1994, states it is an offence if the keeper/person in charge fails to clean up fouling left by the dog in a public place. If dog fouling is not cleared up, Council can issue a fixed penalty. This requires details of the dog, the breed, colouring, age and the owner’s details. This whole process is extremely challenging and time consuming as the fixed penalty amount varies across the borough. However, there is an ongoing process of harmonisation of these fees.
In order to progress the issue, we intend to meet with fellow Councillors and the Director of Environmental Services and suggest we review the fee and ensure a strict enforcement wherever possible. The underlying issue however is a lack of dog wardens to enforce the legislation but to increase this number would mean further burdening the rate payer.
Therefore, we the public, must exercise civic responsibility on this issue. We are interested in your thoughts on this matter and would welcome comments and feedback by contacting us on [email protected]