A LOCAL pet owner was handed a €150 on-the-spot litter fine last week when they failed to pick up after their dog.
This was the first such fine to be given out this year, with the council’s enforcement team actively pursuing careless dog owners who flaunt the litter laws. The Litter Pollution Acts 1997-2003 require dog owners to clean up after their pets in public places, under penalty of an on-the-spot fine, which if not paid can lead to prosecution and a larger fine.
This time last year, Kilkenny local authorities launched the ‘Love Your Dog, Respect Kilkenny’ campaign. The campaign aims to highlight the public health issue on the link between the common roundworm that is carried by dogs and its risk to young children.
A single gram of dog excrement can contain more than 100,000 roundworm eggs. Humans can be infected by this roundworm, resulting in a condition called toxocarosis.
The parasite usually grows in the back of the eye, which can result in blindness, or in the liver or lungs. It can cause serious illness in young children especially.
The council is keen to raise the awareness of the problems dog dirt causes, and they say it is time to put the social responsibility onto the dog owners.
“While it is refreshing to see many dog walkers carrying a plastic bag with them while out walking their dogs, the dog walkers with no bags do raise suspicion as it must be questioned are they equipped if their dog fouls a public area,” says environmental awareness officer Bernadette Moloney.
“More awareness activities are planned however more importantly the enforcement staff will continue to patrol and those found breaking the litter law will be subject to a litter fine of €150. One such dog owner was caught last week and it’s a hefty fine when the solution is simple – bring a bag of any description and clean up after your dog if it fouls a public place.”
A leaflet advising on responsible dog ownership has been launched by the environment section of Kilkenny County Council in partnership with the council’s environmental committee. The leaflet summarises the steps that dog owners should take to ensure that their pets remain safe, and it outlines the minimum requirements to stay on the right side of the law.
There have also been concerns expressed that the unsightly nature of dog faeces on city streets could be putting tourists off, and is damaging the county’s reputation for tidiness. As well as increased public concern over the quantity of dog excrement left in public areas by pet owners, the issue of dog fouling has consistently been raised in borough council meetings as high on local councillors’ lists of concerns.
Street cleaning and litter bin collection alone cost the city almost E800,000 last year – well over half of the total E1.4 million litter-management spend for the entire county.
The council’s campaign leaflet is available from local libraries, from the environment section of County Hall and the dog shelter. Free pooper scoopers are available from local libraries, County and City Hall. Pet shops also sell a wide variety of them.
The Kilkenny Litter Line is 1800-200-156, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.