Dublin City Council installs loudspeakers warning against dog fouling as complaints pick up

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Audio devices in so-called blackspots across the city aim to encourage dog owners to clean up after their dogs.

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has recorded a 27% increase in complaints regarding the issue of dog fouling in public parks and open spaces across the city over the last 12 months.

The council today launched the second phase of its campaign to encourage dog owners and dog walkers to act responsibly and to pick up after their dog as the dog fouling problem continues to grow in Dublin. 

As part of the campaign, the council said it will install audio devices in so-called blackspots across the city to encourage dog owners to clean up after their dogs.

A suite of outdoor and digital adverts will run in tandem for the two week period.

  • Our colleagues at Noteworthy want to find out what is being done to tackle dog faeces littering our streets and parks. Support this project here.

City Councillors have also set up a working group to actively look at the issue as residents continue to contact their local representative to complain about the ongoing issue of dog fouling in their area.

Dublin Lord Mayor said it was now a “major issue”, particularly for people who are more at risk of coming into contact with dog waste such as; wheelchair users, visually impaired people, babies and toddlers.

“Whether you own a dog or not, dog poo in our public spaces affects the whole community. I am appealing to all dog owners in the city to act responsibly and pick up after their dog as dog waste affects everyone,” said Chu.

Dog faeces contain bacteria and worms which can be particularly harmful to young children. It is picked up on the wheels of bikes and buggies and is brought into homes across the country.

Toxocariasis is an infection caused by roundworm parasites. It is spread from animals to humans via infected faeces. Young children are particularly at risk of getting toxocariasis because their play habits make them more likely to come into contact with contaminated soil.

According to a Behaviour & Attitudes Survey carried out by Dogs Trust in 2019, 7 in 10 people claimed to have walked in dog poo on the street.

The survey also found that 51% had come across dog poo in their local park, 31% had rolled a buggy through dog poo, 33% rolled a bicycle through it and 11% rolled their wheelchair through it.

“I am urging dog owners/walkers to be responsible and to dispose of dog waste appropriately and do not leave the doggie bag on railings or in bushes or on the streets or footpaths, instead you should ‘Bag it and Bin it’,” said DCC’s litter prevention officer, Bernie Lillis.

“Dog fouling is everybody’s business, it’s not a dog problem, it’s a human problem and we must all be mindful of other people who use our public spaces and to make sure they are clean and safe for them to use and so that we can all stay healthy.”

€150 fine 

Although it is an offence under section 22 of the Litter Pollution Acts not to clean up after your dog has fouled (which can result in an on-the-spot fine of €150 or a summary conviction to a fine up to €4,000) the reality is that many dog owners are not doing so.

In response to a query on the issue last week, Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan said the primary management and enforcement response to littering (including dog fouling) rests with local authorities, under the Act. 

“It is a matter for each Local Authority to determine the most appropriate course of action to tackle litter pollution locally within the legislation provided. This includes the most appropriate public awareness, enforcement and clean-up actions in relation to litter and dog fouling, taking account of local circumstances and priorities,” said Ryan. 

He said his department would continue to encourage local authorities to expend a portion of their grant – under the Local Authority Anti-Litter and Anti-Graffiti Awareness Grant Scheme –  on dog fouling awareness projects.

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In May 2017, then-Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten said that he was allocating extra resources to tackle the prevalence of dog poo on our streets. 

He said many initiatives to deal with dog fouling had already been introduced around the country.

These include the provision of signage, talking lamp-posts, dog waste bins and bags and awareness campaigns such as The Green Dog Walkers scheme, which the minister said been successful across Roscommon.

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