‘Green dog walkers’ could tackle dog dirt

A community group has called for the implementation of a ‘green dog walkers scheme’ to clamp down on dog fouling.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 7:00 pm

Paul Hughes, a community worker at Enagh Youth Forum, said young people in Strathfoyle, believe such an initiative - originally pioneered in Scotland, would work well in Derry.

In Falkirk over 1,000 volunteers have taken the local council’s Green Dog Walkers pledge and now kit themselves and their dogs out with GDW armbands or collars when out walking their dogs.

The volunteers pledge to clean up after their dog; carry extra dog waste bags; be happy to be approached to ‘lend’ bags; and be a friendly reminder to other dog walkers to clean up after their dogs.

Mr. Hughes said: “Young people have already designed posters aimed at raising awareness and have made contact with a number of councils here who have already demonstrated success having adopted the ‘Green Dog Walker’ scheme including Ards and North Down, Belfast City Council, Fermanagh and Omagh Council and Mid and East Antrim.

“Our local council has already learned a lot from Scotland in terms of community planning and we hope that our local council will also act on this issue and see the merits in introducing this scheme in Derry and Strabane.

“Dog owners and dog walkers support the scheme by signing a pledge to clean up after their pets. They support other owners to do the same by giving free poop bags. They are responsible dog owners demonstrating the importance of cleaning up dog mess.”

Last week the Mayor Michaela Boyle, who was blinded by toxocariasis when she was five due to coming into contact with infected dog excrement, starkly underlined the dangers of dog fouling.

“I think I’m probably the most qualified person in this chamber to speak on this issue. As a young girl of five years of age I lost the sight of my left eye due to toxicara/toxoplasmosis which is the infected worms that you get through dog fouling,” she said.