Drumaness group tackling dog fouling

Drumaness group tackling dog fouling

9 June 2021

A COMMUNITY group in Drumaness is hoping to play its part in the drive to tackle the district’s dog fouling problem.

Its members have started spraying dog dirt with bright pink chalk and explained that there are two reasons for this.

The Drumaness and District Community Association is spraying the dog dirt to make people aware of its presence and hopes that by doing so it will encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets. Group members are using chalk as it is not harmful to the environment.

Group chairman Malachy Hillen said dog fouling and littering were the two most common complaints received by the association. 

“While most dog owners are very responsible and pick up after their pets, there are those that still think that it is acceptable to leave the mess for children and others to walk through,” he said Malachy hopes that by spraying dog dirt with the pink chalk people will not walk through it.

“We also hope that our initiative can kick-start a conversation about the scale of the dog fouling problem across the district and hopefully shame owners into lifting up after their pets,” he said.

He added: “We need to send out a strong message that this bad behaviour will not be tolerated and that Newry, Mourne and Down Council will issue £80 fines to those who do not comply with the law.”

News of the Drumaness group’s decision comes after the local authority decided against using DNA testing on dog dirt in a bid to trace animals whose owners allow them to use public areas as open air toilets will not come as a major surprise.

In addition, council officials have ruled out publicly naming and shaming dog owners who do not clean up after their pets but admit that fouling is a major issue that issue must be addressed and those who deliberately flout the law need to be punished.

Council officials say that enforcement is a key issue moving forward, but when it comes to dishing out fines, Newry, Mourne and Down Council is lagging well behind its neighbour, Ards and North Down Council.

Local politicians insist that dealing with the problem starts with dog owners themselves who need to show more respect for their local community and recreational areas which are not solely in existence for animals to relieve themselves.

There are a number of notable dog fouling hot spots across the district and the issue is one that will have been raised with every one of the local authority’s 41 councillors.

This month, a new publicity programme designed to heighten awareness around the dog fouling issue is due to be rolled out as the district’s dog fouling problem shows no sign of abating.