Dog Fouling in Public Spaces – Reckless New Habits Emerging

The seating alcove on the ‘Nuns Walk’ and the offending ‘doggie bag’ dump beside it. Photograph: John Reidy
A close up of the recent spate of offensive dumping of bags of dog faeces along Castleisland’s river walk. Photograph: John Reidy

From time to time I get calls or messages telling me I should go and look at a particular stretch of road or footpath and the centre piece of the request is always dog faeces.

The river walk, the roadway from the top-of-the-town to An Ríocht and the public walk around the athletics stadium are among the black spots.

In other words you’ll find dog faeces anywhere people walk and you can’t blame the dogs.

The Law on Dog Fouling

Under Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997, it is an offence to allow a dog under your control to foul a public place.

As the owner or person in charge of the dog you are required under this law to remove dog faeces and dispose of it in a suitable, sanitary manner.

The thing is now that the majority of dog walking people are actually picking up what their pets are depositing on these leisure paths and walkways.

Owners Depositing What Pets Deposit

However, it’s where the minority of people are depositing what their pets deposit that is now causing alarm and disgust.

Most likely there are several such areas around the well used walking routes in town, but the little seating alcove on ‘The Nuns’ Walk’ has now become a dumping ground for the distinctive yellow bags and their contents.

This is a relatively new, bad habit which has now developed with some people of the dog walking fraternity and it was brought to my notice at the weekend.

Popular with Students and Children

This section of the walk, in particular, is popular with students and children from the nearby schools and with the season of fine weather approaching it is likely to become a health hazard.

There are well established links between dog faeces and some life changing diseases in children in particular.

That takes the foul deed far beyond Tidy Towns considerations and well into the arena of recklessness.

Ideally, the people who dump the ‘doggie bags’ in places like this, should be the ones made to clean them up – but you know yourself that’s never going to happen.

Doggie Bags and Bins

Maybe strategically placed dog faeces bins should be installed at locations along the river walk to alleviate the problem.

The offending members of the dog walking population have pointed out, by their actions, exactly where these bins should be sited.

Failure to clean up after a dog in your care and to remove its faeces from a public place can lead to an on the spot fine of €150 or, if your case goes to court, that could rise to €3000.

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