'The streets are completely covered': Tougher action on dog fouling called for in Derry & Strabane

Derry City and Strabane District Councillors have voiced their concerns about the ‘alarming’ level of dog fouling in the city, and urged officers to clamp down on irresponsible dog owners.
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Councillors raised issues during a dog control work-plan and enforcement policy report detailed by Head of Health and Community Wellbeing, Seamus Donaghy, at a meeting of the Council’s Health and Community Committee on Thursday.

The Moor Sinn Féin District Councillor Aisling Hutton told Mr Donaghy that she was ‘constantly’ receiving reports of dog fouling from residents, but this was not reflected in the number of fines issued.

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She said: "Dog bins have been put in areas to alleviate the issue, but what jumped out at me from this report was that there were only three fixed penalty notices given out between April and September for dog fouling.

A previous episode of dog foul on the Peace Bridge. 
A previous episode of dog foul on the Peace Bridge.
A previous episode of dog foul on the Peace Bridge.

“Why are there not more when the streets are completely covered?”

Mr Donaghy said wardens carry out patrols when they receive complaints, but only issue penalties in rare instances when they or a resident witness an offence.

“It goes back to responsible dog ownership,” he said. “Some owners let their dogs out late at night and we get complaints the next morning.

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"It’s difficult to tackle, but we’re trying to educate and enforce. We will continue, and plot areas where wardens carry out patrols, so we can bring a report to committee.”

Dog foul bins have been erected along many walkways.Dog foul bins have been erected along many walkways.
Dog foul bins have been erected along many walkways.

Foyleside SDLP District Councillor Lilian Seenoi-Barr said the ‘persistent issue’ of dog fouling was ‘alarming’.

"I welcome Council’s stand in enforcing legal duties and the emphasis on responsible dog ownership through education, but we need a shift towards a more proactive, preventative strategy highlighting the health hazards.

"This is one issue that has been coming up day in, day out. I have been contacted by residents across the city, even as far as Strabane, and I think there is an issue that needs to be addressed.”

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The Moor independent District Councillor Gary Donnelly said dog fouling was a ‘major problem’.

"‘We’ve spent a lot of time here, and had all sorts of proposals,” he said. “I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s a huge problem.”

Andrew Balfour,

Local Democracy Reporter