Initiative to clean up dog mess set to launch in June

Initiative to clean up dog mess set to launch in June

9 January 2019

A NEW campaign aimed at helping rid the district of its dog fouling problem is set for its formal launch in June.

The highly contentious issue of dog dirt is one of the single most complained about problems in the area.

Despite valiant efforts over recent years by council officials and others, the issue has not been adequately addressed.

There is virtually no town or village which is not affected by dog fouling and Newry, Mourne and Down Council is hoping the new campaign will be a success.

It aims to raise awareness and remind dog owners about the importance of cleaning up after their dogs. One of the biggest problems the local authority has to tackle is the hardcore of dog owners who point blankly refuse to clean up after their pets. 

Details of the new initiative were unveiled a few weeks ago. This week council officials confirmed that the campaign will be officially launched at the end of June.

With the rates process well underway to determine the local authority’s budget for the new financial year, councillors have agreed to make provision for new advertising and publicity campaigns as they bid to get on top of the dog fouling problem. Advertising the campaign on radio is also planned.

Councillors and local authority officials are becoming increasingly concerned that a number of dog owners are prepared to turn a blind eye to potentially harming children who come into contact with the mess their animals leave behind.

With the new campaign aimed at changing minds, dog owners will be reminded that it is their responsibility to clean up after their dogs and that not doing so leaves them open to an £80 fine.

Councillors say they are frustrated at the “blatant disregard” some dog owners and ratepayers are displaying and are keen to finally address the dog fouling issue. 

With a number of notable dog fouling hot spots across the district, the local authority is determined to do all it can to tackle the problem, given that it does nothing to enhance the district’s image.

Rowallane councillor Billy Walker, who is severely critical of dog owners who do not clean up after their pets, hopes the new initiative will be a success.

“This campaign is long overdue and I hope that the small number of dog owners who break the law by not cleaning up after their pets will get the message that their behaviour is inexcusable,” he said.

“Dog fouling is a problem in many areas, even in my home town of Killyleagh. We are talking about a district-wide problem which we have not yet been able to get to grips with. People should not have to constantly watch their step while out walking and while many dog owners are careful to clean up after their pets, there are those who don’t care.”

Cllr Walker said improving the district’s cleanliness was at the heart of the new campaign.

He said that while reminding dog owners to clean up after their dogs was important, one way of dealing with the problem was hitting them in the pocket with a fine.

He added: “I have always said dog owners who break the law should be ‘named and shamed’ and still hold this view. Let’s hope that when this new campaign is launched it will be a success and help tackle a problem which is a scourge on this district.”