Council attempts to combat ‘dog poo’ problem with extra litter wardens

By Mary Dennehy

DOG owners can no longer side-step the sticky situation of their pet’s poop as South Dublin County Council aims to enforce legislation through the appointment of two additional litter wardens – and a raised visibility of these wardens in public places.

While a large percentage of dog owners now bag and bin their pet’s waste, there are still those who don’t – which is illegal under the Litter Pollution Act 1997.

Dog wardens 23032017

In 2015 and 2016 only five people were fined €150 in relation to dog fouling across the county, despite plenty of visible evidence in our villages, estates and parks that some people are not cleaning up after their furry friends.

This low level of enforcement has been raised as a concern on numerous occasions over the years, with many asking how the council can enforce it.

Speaking with The Echo this week, Mary Maguire, of the council’s environment section, said: “It is an offence under the Litter Pollution Act to leave dog waste on the ground.

“People are responsible for cleaning up after their dog and for properly disposing of that waste in a suitable sanitary manner.
“Dog-fouling is a littering offence and is very anti-social and dangerous and the council is doing everything it can to eradicate it.”

She added: “In our efforts to combat this form of littering, the general public can expect to see raised visibility of the warden service in public areas, there will be more bodies out on the street – so, dog owners not picking up after their dogs, watch out.”

The council has recently increased its number of litter wardens from four to five, with one more warden being appointed in the coming weeks.

When asked about the provision of dog waste specific bins, Ms Maguire said: “We’ve just concluded a review of the litter bins across the whole county and we believe that dog specific bins would require a major change to our existing bin collection system.

“We have around 670 public bins across the county and encourage people to use ‘any bag, any bin’ when disposing of their dog’s waste.

“Introducing dog specific bins is not our policy and we don’t propose any change.”

The council has also ran pilot dog poop bag dispenser programmes in a number of local parks and introduced the Green Dog Walker programme, a non-confrontational, friendly way to change attitudes about dog fouling – which has around 725 dog owners signed-up.

“A lot of people bring their own bags with them to be fair – it really is a small minority that is having this negative impact on the majority,” Ms Maguire said.

“Combating this type of litter requires a partnership approach between the council, the general public and dog owners.”

Having raised the issue in council chambers, Independent councillor Liona O’Toole said: “Five fines in the space of two years is not reflective of the scale of the issue.

“Dog-fouling fines are really low in comparison to other fines even though there is proof that people are breaking the law by not picking up their dog dirt all over our streets.

“I also believe that the council needs to look at introducing dog bins.

“They’re used all over the country and if located in the right area, I believe they work.”

South Dublin County Council will be in The Square shopping centre this Wednesday, March 29, promoting its Green Dog Walkers programme and handing out information and doggie bags.

Prev Students invited to share their experiences on life in Ireland
Next Fifty-year naming policy deemed as ‘overkill’ by concerned councillors
  • Tallaght father Mick Morrissey issues an important message after his son Alex tragically passed away
  • Sixteen of Ireland’s most iconic sports stars join forces
  • A message from Stephen Kenny
  • Happy Mother's Day - Sea of Change Choir
  • The Echo speaks to Trish Nolan manager of the South Dublin County Volunteer Centre

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site, personalise content, provide social media features, analyse our traffic, show you relevant advertising and to target and report on ads. By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies that may process personal data for these purposes.