Sinn Féin councillor Thérèse Ruane has urged dog owners to act responsibly and do all within their power to ensure their pets are not fouling public places. Cllr Ruane was speaking after a number of people raised concerns about the large amount of dog waste that is found on footpaths, roads, and public areas in Castlebar.
Cllr Ruane said: “Dog fouling is unsightly, unpleasant, and downright unhealthy to the public. I have been contacted by numerous people reporting dog fouling in public places throughout the town, including housing estates, the graveyard, public footpaths, private lawns and driveways, even in front of local businesses. It is a sickening job for shop owners and their staff to have to clean up this mess on a daily basis.
“Litter and dog wardens need to be more proactive by targeting the unacceptable behaviour of dog owners who walk their pet without a bag or scooper that can clear up any mess they leave behind. In other jurisdictions, anyone walking their dog in public will receive an on the spot fine if they are found not to have the means to clear up after their pet. By contrast, in Ireland, a dog owner can only be fined if they are caught allowing their pet to foul in a public place, meaning it is hard for local authorities to enforce the law.”
According to Dep Mulherin this issue needs to be addressed and a change in the law is needed. “Anyone who goes out with a dog and allows it to foul public spaces need to be aware of the health hazards and the potential danger they are causing. Canines commonly carry a parasite worm called Toxocara whose eggs are passed out with the faeces into the soil and this can have serious consequences for young children and pregnant mothers.”
Dep Mulherin, who has raised the issue on a number of occasions with the local authority, is now calling for “immediate and overt” court action to be taken to address this matter.