Mobile CCTV cameras are to be used by Derry & Strabane Council to help catch people who allow their dogs to foul without cleaning up after them.
A total of four cameras were purchased last year for use in “problem” areas of the city and district, with the initiative set to be rolled out over the coming months.
However, concerns have been raised by councillors after it emerged that only three of 568 fixed penalties issued during the year to April 2017 were for dog fouling.
Around 49 tonnes of dog waste was deposited in dog foul bins in 2016/17, and the council’s Health and Community Committee was told at its July meeting on Thursday that this was “indicative that the vast majority of owners are responsible”.
The amount collected was the equivalent in weight to around 30 cars.
However, DUP Councillor Hilary McClintock said: “Last year there were seven and that has dropped to three this year. I think that is unacceptable. It’s not enough. The public are crying out for some form of action.
“I could take you out into my area tonight and find you three people to prosecute.”
She said that the problem was not straying dogs fouling, but people with their dogs on a lead who “do not want to abide by the rules.
“I really think we need to take this seriously,” she said. “Any meeting with the community, the first question isn’t about the Community Plan or tourism, it’s dog dirt and we get that all the time and I think we need to put that at the top of our priorities.”
UUP Colr. Derek Hussey agreed, and said all councillors regularly receive numerous complaints regarding dog fouling.
A total of 480 of the fixed penalty notices were issued to dog owners failing to license their dogs last year - an increase of 224 per cent from the previous year. The £75 fines are discounted to £50 if paid within 14 days.