Taps in parks for those who fall foul of dog dirt

Derry & Strabane Council is to examine the potential for installing water taps and hoses at local public parks for people who accidentally get dog dirt on themselves or their belongings.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 7:42 am

A report is to be compiled on the feasibility of such a move as the Council continues to escalate its activity to tackle the issue of dog fouling.

It was agreed at Full Council that a report will be brought back by officers detailing the cost of installing taps and hoses at public parks.

SDLP Councillor Angela Dobbins made the proposal, which was seconded by her party colleague Councillor Shauna Cusack.

DOG FOULING HOTSPOTS. . . . .Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney pictured with Kieran Graham, DCSDC Dog Warden, and Councillor Angela Dobbins at Culmore Country Park on Thursday afternoon. The Mayor was carrying out a tour of the Council areasâ€TM dog fouling hot spots highlighted by local councillors. (Photo: Jim McCaffertyPhotography)

Councillor Dobbins said: “I would like to propose that a report is brought back to Environment and Regeneration regarding the costings of installing an external tap with an adequate hose in our district parks to enable the washing of pram wheels, scooter/bike wheels, even footwear that has fallen ‘foul’ (excuse the pun) of dog dirt.

“There is nothing worse than a parent pushing a pram and being covered in dog dirt and trying to  get it into the car with no means of washing it off until they get home.

“There is a real cry out there and it is irresponsible dog owners that are allowing dogs to do their business and then walking on but it’s our people who are paying the costs for that.”

Colr. Dobbins said coming into contact with dog faeces can in some cases be much more than an inconvenience however and can have devastating and life-long consequences.

“The worst cost is to pick up the bacteria within dog foul which can have detrimental effects such as blindness and real severe illnesses,” she said.

Mayor of Derry & Strabane, Councillor Brian Tierney has been touring the city and district with dog wardens as patrols have been significantly stepped up in a drive to clampdown on the problem.

He commented: “One thing I have learned when I was out and about is that the people who were most annoyed about dog fouling is dog owners themselves because as one girl put it to me they are guilty by association.

“Hopefully we will start to see the fruits of the work with the new staff that are going to be out and about the district. I would be happy to ask Karen Phillips to bring a report back to committee on that basis.”

Recent reports revealed that the incidence of dog fouling has jumped across the city and district since the COVID pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, with more people out walking with their dogs in public areas.

The Council has stressed that the vast majority of dog owners do behave in a responsible manner but that the few who fail to pick up after their pets were spoiling public facilities for others.

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter