Alliance councillor tackles dog fouling problem across the Newry Mourne and Down District Council area.
Rowallane Alliance councillor Patrick Brown, has successfully brought a motion to tackle dog fouling across the District which has now been agreed by Council.
The motion states: “Recognising the extent of dog fouling across the District and the need to consider innovative solutions to tackle this problem, the Council will investigate the viability of using DNA testing to identify offenders and aid enforcement officers in issuing fines, alongside an enhanced public awareness campaign of the dangers of dog fouling similar to that of other councils.“
Cllr. Brown, a Rowallene DEA representative, said: “Dog fouling is an issue that impacts on constituents across the entire Newry Mourne and Down district. It is more than just an anti-social nuisance… there are significant health risks, to both dogs and humans, from discarded dog waste.
“There is a high risk of toxocariasis, which is a very serious health issue, especially for young children. This is not something any parent should have to worry about when you take your child to the playpark or out for a walk.
“In the last few months as more people have been at home and exercising outside, we have all seen the huge increase in dog fouling incidents across the district. Unfortunately despite efforts to change this, Newry Mourne and Down Council still only have one full-time enforcement officer covering the entire district, and on average hand out as little as one or no fines at all for dog fouling each month. This is significantly lower than the Ards and North Down Borough Council which averages as many as 30 a month.”
Counillor Brown aded that to aid Newry Mourne and Down District Council council in their enforcement, DNA testing could potentially be a more cost effective option in the long term than hiring additional enforcement officers.
“This should be done in conjunction with the introduction of additional bins in hotspot areas, educational and engaging signage and general awareness campaigns around the risks of dog fouling.
Cllr. Brown added: “In terms of cost, this is a feasible solution. To give one example, there is a company called Biopet labs which operates globally and services a lot of local authorities in the USA. The cost of getting a sample tested is just £50 which could be easily re-couped through income from fines. At the very least, people knowing that DNA testing is happening may deter them from fouling in itself.”
Helena Young, Alliance Party representative for the Newry DEA said: “I am absolutely delighted that my colleague Patrick Brown’s motion to explore the DNA initiative was supported by all parties.
“Dog fouling is a huge problem right across the District and I have been highlighting this for quite some time. Ultimately the scourge of dog fouling on our streets is the responsibility of those dog owners who have complete disregard for their area or their neighbours.
“We need to explore all avenues and initiatives in order to eradicate this problem, it is both disgusting and potentially dangerous. Anything that will help enforce penalties and encourage dog owners to be responsible can only be welcomed.”