ARMAGH councillor Paul Berry has urged the public to report owners who let their dogs foul, writes Mairead Holland.
The independent councillor raised the dog fouling issue with the council a fortnight ago after complaints from residents in the Laurelvale area.
Roberta Jelly, from Laurelvale and District Community Association, approached Councillor Berry on behalf of villagers. She said, “One of the main problem areas is the kiddies’ play park and the green beside it. There is a dog sign up but a lot of owners ignore it.
“One mum who goes to our mother and toddler group had to leave the park. She had walked the wheels of the pram into the dog dirt and her young daughter had walked in it as well.”
She added, “I announced at the cricket club a few weeks ago that the council was being informed and that owners needed to take responsibility.
“We also need more dog bins and there are too many which are overflowing and not being emptied often enough.”
Mr Berry said reporting offenders was the most effective way to deal with the problem, with the approach having proved successful in Tandragee a number of months ago.
He said, “Residents in the Wayside and Knockview Drive area were having problems so we worked together and names of the dog owners were supplied to the council. The dog wardens then approached the owners to remind them of their responsibilities and that was enough to resolve the problem.
“There are a lot of responsible owners but there are others who don’t pick up after their dogs. There are pocket problem areas and the Clare Glen is one of them.
“The dog wardens hand out leaflets in the area regularly but they can’t stand there 24 hours a day.”
He added, “It’s a beauty spot and it’s a shame it should be spoilt this way. I even got an email from Scottish visitors who thought it was beautiful but the amount of dog fouling was the first thing they noticed about it. They felt they needed to let me know about it.”
He added, “People can pass names on to the council or to any councillor and these offenders will be spoken to.”
A spokesperson for Armagh City and District Council said the council was continuing to tackle the problem of dog fouling and that council officers regularly patrolled areas used by dog walkers such as the Mall and the Navan Centre and would be patrolling towns and villages on a regular basis.
She said, “Due to a significant public health risk associated with dog fouling, the council’s environmental health department are carrying out patrols in the problem areas and providing information to dog owners of their legal responsibilities under The Litter (NI) Order 1994.
“Any person observed failing to pick up after their dog will be issued with a £50 Fixed Penalty Notice. Officers will also be checking that dog owners have their pet’s licence tag displayed and are carrying their poop bags with them. There is a limited supply of poop bags available from the council’s kennels and they can also be purchased from all major retail outlets.”
The council has also called on the public to help identify those who do not clean up after their pets. The spokesperson added, “If you observe someone allowing their dog(s) to foul please report this to the environmental health department on 028 3752 9623, providing as much detail as possible ie. the location, the time and date the incident occurred, a description of the dog, the name and address of the person in charge of the dog and a vehicle registration number if available.
“The more information the public can supply the greater the chance we have of identifying the culprits. All complaints are treated in a confidential manner.”
Further information can be obtained on www.armagh.gov.uk.