Belmullet Tidy Towns - supported by the Erris Chamber of Commerce and the Oweninny Community Benefit Fund - has launched a campaign aimed at tackling 'the persistent problem of dog fouling around the town'.
The campaign was kicked off with a visit from a special guest called Winnie – the only ‘Pooh’ who is welcome on the streets of Belmullet!
The purpose of the campaign is to highlight to dog owners the importance of cleaning up after their dogs. The initiative includes: the installation of 10 brand-new stainless-steel dog litter bins; the distribution of free dog dirt bag holders; new street signage to remind dog owners of the law; a social media campaign; a poster competition with local TY students; and support from other organisations and authorities.
The campaign by Belmullet Tidy Towns states: "During lockdown, Belmullet residents noticed an increase in dog waste on footpaths around the town. One resident said, 'Every time I go for a walk, I see dog poo everywhere. I have to be so careful where I step, it’s awful'.
"Many responsible dog owners take poo bags with them every time they bring their dog for walks in public places. These owners know that it is the law to bag-and-bin their dog’s poo. Dog dirt on our streets, footpaths and grassy areas is a very serious issue. It can spread disease, it’s unsightly and smelly. It carries viruses, bacteria and parasites which can cause intestinal illness and serious kidney disorders in humans, blindness in children, and it can also spread disease to other dogs.
"This campaign aims to also highlight the fact that dog owners should not allow their dogs to roam freely, and that all dog poo bags should be disposed of properly. People are being asked to show that they love their dogs, their community, and their town. By disposing of dog litter responsibly, dog owners are protecting their neighbours, the local children, and their own families."
Mary Keenaghan, a Belmullet Tidy Towns volunteer, said, "We have been working so hard to improve the overall environment of our wonderful town for locals and visitors alike. However, we have found that the level of dog fouling on our footpaths is particularly excessive - a recent survey counted 127 instances of dog faeces in a short space of time, within the town environs.
"This is unacceptable as it impacts walkers, joggers, wheelchair users, cyclists and people with prams. Residents and tourists should be able to enjoy clean pathways and a safe environment all around our beautiful town. We are asking dog owners to please pick up after your pets and bag-and-bin the dog dirt."
She added: "Locals and visitors can enjoy looking at the TY students’ colourful creations for the poster competition on Main Street in Belmullet. Míle buíochas to the students from Our Lady’s Secondary School and St Brendan’s College for their submissions, and also to Paula Murphy for allowing us to use the windows of Murphys’ Florists building to display the posters."
Dog owners in Belmullet can avail of a free dog dirt bag holder by emailing [email protected], sending a private message via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter ) or by calling Elaine on (097 ) 20977.