County Councils have ‘tried everything they can within the law’ to tackle dog fouling – but the problem is worse than ever.
That’s according to Independent Councillor for Thurles Jim Ryan who was speaking after it emerged Tipperary County Council has not handed out a dog fouling fine in four years.
Meanwhile, Cork City Council has failed to hand one out for 17 months.
On The Pat Kenny Show, Cllr Ryan said the figures are “really shocking” but insisted the council’s failure to hand out fines is “not for lack of trying.”
“Of all the types of fines you can issue, fines for dog fouling have got to be the most complicated and the ones that get the least amount of success,” he said.
“The only people who can issue fines are dog wardens, litter wardens and members of the Gardaí.
“They can only issue those fines if, firstly, they see the dog going to the toilet, secondly, they witness the owner not cleaning up after them and thirdly, they go up to the owner and issue the fine.
“They also have to prove that the person walking the dog is the actual owner, so it is an absolute nightmare. It is a legal quagmire and I think the legislation needs to change in relation to that.
“That is probably the only reason there are no fines – it is one of those fines you just can’t implement very easily and, unless it changes, that is the way it is going to be going forward.”
Poop and scoop
Cllr Ryan said Tipperary County Council has spent a huge amount of money on extra bins and poop and scoop bag stations, but it has made “absolutely no difference.”
He said the only way the problem will be addressed is if dog owners take responsibility for their own actions.
“If there was a solution to this, it would have been solved,” he said. “This is a problem everywhere; all over the world, not just in Ireland.
“We have tried everything we can within the law to try and solve this but unless the dog owners clean up after their dogs, the problem is not going to go away.
“No matter what fine you bring in – the current fine under the act is €150 on the spot or €3,000 in court – and that is not putting anyone off.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know how many dog owners out there don’t clean up after their dogs but there is a large number and unfortunately, they just don’t care.”
He said the problem is getting worse all over the country.
“I can guarantee you every town, village and city in Ireland has a huge problem with dog fouling on footpaths and public areas,” he said. “It is not just limited to Tipperary.
“It is bad and it is getting worse. During the pandemic, people had more time to walk their dogs and a lot more people got dogs, with the result that there was far more dog traffic on our streets and in our parks.
“Whether it is a small number or a large number, a percentage of people out there are just not picking up after their dogs and that is why it has gotten worse and worse.
“More bins and bags will make no difference.”
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