Beauty spot used as a ‘dog toilet’ - claim

A Limavady man has lashed out at dog owners who allow their pets to foul at a popular local beauty spot, which he claims they use as a “dog toilet”.

The regular visitor to the picturesque Roe Valley Country Park made the scathing remarks after witnessing a man allowing his dogs to foul in the park earlier this week. The man watched in disbelief as the driver pulled up in a car in the O’Cahan’s car park area and released his dogs from the back of the car.

“He read the paper, the dogs did their business and then they ran around for a while. Then he put them back in the car and drove off,” he said. “It was disgusting.”

The man, preferring not to be named, said he often sees dog dirt lying on the ground along some of the paths in the tranquil woods.

“If people have a dog and they take it out of the house they should have a bag to collect the dirt. If they don’t they should be fined on the spot,” he said.

“I went up the other evening with my grandchildren and it was so dangerous that in less than 10 yards I counted approximately 12 pieces of dog waste. Something has to be done about this. This is one of the most beautiful areas in the North West and it’s an accident waiting to happen. A child or adult will contract a disease, or worse.”

A spokesperson for Limavady Borough Council said the local enforcement officer is “frequently in Roe Valley Country Park and if any offences are detected they are actioned accordingly”.

“Stray dogs at the Country Park, which can be a significant source of dog foul, have been taken by the Enforcement Officer and impounded in the kennels in Derry. Council continues to encourage both the public and staff at the Country Park to report any incidents of dog fouling which will be actioned accordingly,” said the spokesperson.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency acknowledged there are “visitors who get out to walk their dogs but fail to lift the waste”.

“NIEA has provided dog-waste bins and encourages visitors with dogs to use these. The agency has a contract under which dog waste is regularly collected and has run two events in recent years specifically for dog owners at which responsible management of dogs and dog waste has been emphasised,” he said.

“The Park Warden will contact the Limavady Borough Council Dog Warden and develop a strategy for dealing with this issue. Patrols in the areas identified will be stepped up and offenders spoken to.”