Cllr Linehan Foley Calls for Action on Youghal’s Dog Fouling Problem

By Jordan McCarthy


Dog fouling has become a major problem on the streets of East Cork, even more so in recent months and Cllr Mary Linehan Foley is calling for action to tackle what has become a ‘huge health and safety issue’.
This is a concern which Cllr Linehan Foley has been raising for some time now, but she has stepped up her efforts in recent weeks. After walking near the Mall area of Youghal recently, she was disgusted by the amount of dog litter on the footpath. This prompted her to highlight the issue with both locals and the authority. She told the East Cork Journal that the onus is on the dog owners, rather than local council workers, to clean up after their pets.
‘‘This has gone beyond a nuisance. I saw it myself first-hand in the Mall area. It’s like a minefield up by the Golf Links Road as well. I have put numerous complaints in. It’s an educational thing; it’s not the Council’s fault. The Council provide the bins and they do provide the pooper scooper’s free of charge. So, it is disgusting that people are leaving their dogs’ litter in the middle of a footpath – that people are walking on, or pushing buggies or wheelchairs on – and are walking away and leaving it there.’’
While there is currently no official dog/litter warden in the area, due to the embargo and staffing cutbacks, Cllr Linehan Foley has hinted that there could be a warden introduced down the line. Either way, she is under no illusions that stiffer measures are needed to tackle the issue of dog fouling in East Cork.
‘‘I would be looking for CCTV to be installed in these areas. This has to happen and the reason it has to happen is this; somebody is going to get sick out of this. It’s a nuisance, but it is a health and safety issue as well. People are just so selfish, that they feel they can walk their dogs, let them litter on the street and just walk away from it. The problem with the fines (of €150) is that you have to catch the person in the act. There is a large amount of people who have confronted those who let their dog’s mess on the street and they have got the height of abuse back.
‘‘I will certainly be asking, and I have a motion put forward, that we do install CCTV cameras and if that can’t be done, then I would hope that we can employ a litter warden in the East Cork area, so that they can catch people in the act. The people can then be prosecuted. ’’
The County Councillor spends a lot of time in Cork City, in her role, and she feels that the issue of dogs fouling on the footpaths isn’t as big a problem there as it is in East Cork. She added that; ‘‘it’s not a quarter as bad as what it is in the towns and villages. Since I put that post up on Facebook on this matter, a large amount of people have private mailed me about their own areas; Midleton, Killeagh, Youghal and Castlemartyr.’’
One could be forgiven for assuming that stray dogs could be to blame. However, Linehan-Foley believes that that is not the case and that responsibility, for the most part, lies with the owners. ‘‘Long ago, there were loads of stray dogs on the streets, but the majority of the cases of dogs fouling on the street are with a person present. There are almost no stray dogs out there because owners take a lot of pride in their dogs now. At the end of the day, this is people walking with their dogs that are leaving this happen.’’
Under Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997, it is an offence to allow a dog under your control to foul a public place. This means the owner or person in charge of the dog is required to remove dog faeces and dispose of them in a suitable, sanitary manner. Owners/handlers who do not dispose of dog faeces in a responsible manner may receive an on-the-spot fine of €150. Failure to pay on-the-spot fines can lead to prosecution in District Court with a maximum fine of €3,000 and €600 per day for continuing offences on summary conviction.