Ratepayers call for council to get tough on dog owners
30 April 2012
A new poll of Belfast ratepayers has revealed they want the city council to get tough on dog owners who don`t clean up after their pet.
The research, conducted by MORI, was carried out on behalf of Belfast City Council and revealed that members of the public believe that fining irresponsible dog owners is the only way of cleaning up our streets.
Belfast City Council has launched the next phase of its campaign to remind dog owners `his business is your business`, and is asking members of the public to help them target repeat offenders.
Councillor Pat McCarthy, chairman of the council`s Health and Environmental Services Committee, said: “Dog fouling is one of the things we get the most complaints about but unfortunately when people contact us, they don`t give us much to go on. They`ll maybe tell us that there is a lot of dog litter on the Lisburn Road or on the Newtownards Road but without being more specific, it`s virtually impossible for our dog wardens to target resources effectively.
“Our latest campaign is asking residents to give us as much information as they can because most often the problem is down to the same people not cleaning up after their dog. It`s not about making this into a witch hunt but we`ve tried the softly, softly approach of appealing to people`s better nature and what you find is that the message is getting through to the people who are already picking up after their dog. We`re not seeing the behaviour change that we`d like to.”
The messy problem was first the subject of a council campaign last year. While the council recognises that stray dogs undoubtedly contribute to the problem with 600 fines issued last year alone, too many dog owners still don`t own up to their `poop and scoop` responsibilities with 144 receiving £50 fixed penalties last year also.
People that are plagued with dog fouling in their street or community are being asked to report it to the council and, if possible, provide information on the kind of dog, the time of day it usually happens and a precise location, as well as any other details they think may help. They don`t even have to leave their name.
Councillor McCarthy added: “There is absolutely no excuse for not cleaning up after your pet – not only is it unsightly and inconvenient, there`s also the health risks associated with dog faeces which can be harmful to people, especially children.
“You don`t need a special bag or a special bin; we all have plastic bags at home so pop a couple in your pocket when you`re out with your dog and there are hundreds of bins dotted around the city on streets and in parks, and you can use any one of them.
“Our dog wardens will be out and about in the city and if you`re caught not cleaning up after your dog, you face a £50 on-the-spot fine.”
Three out of 10 adults in Belfast own a dog. Feedback from the research showed that one third of people surveyed considered the £50 fine to be too low. The fine for allowing your dog to foul in public will increase to £80 in October this year under new legislation.
For more information on the campaign visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/dogfouling
Members of the public can call 028 9027 0431 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report dog fouling in their area.
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