A Mayo county councillor has challenged a person to come up with a device to harness dog fouling similar to the dung catching devices for horses in Killarney.
Fine Gael councillor Seamus Weir made his comments at last week’s SPC meeting on the Environment where the issue of dog fouling was raised. The meeting heard that dog fouling was a major problem in towns and on the new Greenway where dog owners do not clean up their dog’s mess.
Cllr Weir said he was serious when he suggested that the Council should challenge people to come up with a device to capture dog fouling.
“The public are so annoyed with dog fouling and we as a forum should look to someone to come up with a dog harness to capture the fouling. I would prefer them carrying it than me having to carry it. It might sound silly but if someone comes up with the idea they could make millions,” he told the committee.
Cllr Myle Staunton brought up the issue of dog fouling saying that the problem was brought to his attention by walkers on the Greenway and said there was nothing worse to be out walking and come across dog fouling.
He asked Sharon Cameron, the Environmental Awareness Officer with Mayo County Council if there was any prosecutions brought against people who do not pick up after their dogs.
She said it was extremely hard to catch people in the act and people did not see it as littering in the conventional sense. She acknowledged that it was a big problem and they were trying to highlight the health hazards associated with fouling as well as the unsightliness of it.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin councillor Therese Ruane has urged dog owners to act responsibly and do all within their power to ensure their pets are not fouling public places and called on litter wardens to be more proactive.
“Litter and dog wardens need to be more proactive by targeting the unacceptable behaviour of dog owners who walk their pet without a bag or scooper that can clear up any mess they leave behind. In other jurisdictions, anyone walking their dog in public will receive an on the spot fine if they are found not to have the means to clear up after their pet.
“By contrast, in Ireland, a dog owner can only be fined if they are caught allowing their pet to foul in a public place meaning it is hard for local authorities to enforce the law. It is a sickening job for shop owners and their staff to have to clean up this mess on a daily basis,” she said.
Cllr Ruane also highlighted the health hazards of dog fouling and serious consequences for young children and pregnant mothers.