‘ENFORCEMENT is the only solution to dog fouling,’ according to Cllr Karen Coakley.
The Fine Gael councillor tabled a motion at a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District calling for the enforcement of fines for dog fouling because ‘some of our streets and beaches are in a revolting state.’
The meeting heard that one of West Cork’s best-known and most loved beaches – Barleycove – has also fallen foul of the dreaded dog poo.
Cllr Coakley said the level of dog fouling is ‘a major health and safety concern.’
She said ratepayers shouldn’t have to go out and scrub the footpaths in front of their premises.
‘It’s forcing people to move off the pavement,’ said Cllr Coakley, who warned the level of dog fouling is particularly problematic for wheelchair users and people with pushchairs who have to go through the mess.
‘Our beaches are in a shocking state including The Warren in Rosscarbery,’ she added.
There, she said, the local tidy towns committee had been active in trying to deal with the problem by paying €1,000 for signs appealing to dog owners to clean up after their pets.
‘Tidy towns groups are doing great work,’’ she added, ‘but more tangible support is needed from Cork County Council.’
Social Democrat Cllr Ross O’Connell said his local beach at Barleycove is used by a lot of people walking their dog and as a result there is dog poop ‘everywhere.’
Even when people pick it up in Barleycove, Cllr O’Connell said there is nowhere to dump it and people are leaving it at the entrance to the beach.
‘Three times outside my own door since Christmas,’ Bantry Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said as he enumerated the times he had to clear dog poo from in front of his premises.
‘My stomach isn’t the strongest for those kinds of jobs,’ he added. ‘The people who are letting this happen must be fined.’
‘We bring this up every few months,’ said Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) who recommended the UK and French practice of penalising dog owners who venture out without the plastic bags needed to clean up after their pets.
‘As the law stands here in Ireland,’ he said, ‘the warden has to witness the dog doing its business. Our current system isn’t working. We have to try something else. If owners haven’t the wherewithal to pick up after their dog they should be fined.’