Campaign urged on 'disgusting' dog litter problem in Portlaoise

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Campaign urged on 'disgusting' dog litter problem in Portlaoise

Campaign urged on 'disgusting' dog litter problem in Portlaoise

The "absolutely disgusting" dog litter problem in Portlaoise will "not be accepted any longer" says a councillor.

A town wide campaign to make Portlaoise dog litter free is needed says Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.

"Some people just bring out their dogs to do their business at certain times and don't care about others," she said.

Her call was made at the February meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District, where it was heard that one person has been fined so far in 2021 for leaving their dog's waste on the street.

Cllr Fitzgerald said that she has never received as many complaints on the issue, including from a wheelchair user who ended up getting dog waste on his hand.

"It is just a huge issue in Portlaoise at the moment. It is absolutely disgusting on our walkways and cycle lanes.  People are sick and tired of it.

"I want to see our district starting a really good campaign. I want to see those yellow posters on every pole, stencils on the paths, in your face. Put everything we can into it to make Portlaoise dog litter free. 

"I know it's very difficult. We are talking about people taking personal responsibilty with Covid, but I've had complaints on this from people cycling, pushing buggies and wheelchairs," she said.

Cllr Fitzgerald is also demanding that the law be enforced on dog owners keeping their pets on a lead.

"I am really annoyed to see people letting their dogs loose. They go into the play area in the park and poo in the sand. It's not acceptable. We in Portlaoise are not going to accept this any longer," she said.

There was one person fined this year so far, following a complaint from a witness, according to Town Manager Simon Walton.

"I agree totally, I am happy to support the delivery of a campaign. When you own a dog you bear responsibility. Besides the look of it it is a health issue to come into contact with dog waste," he said.

The environment section of Laois County Council is to be asked to advertise the campaign.

Cllr John Joe Fennelly supported the motion and said it is a problem in his town of Abbeyleix and in all Laois towns and villages.

"We fitted those mutt mitt bag dispensers but it only made a little bit of difference. You can't go anywhere now but you're practically walking on poo," he said.

Cllr Noel Tuohy supported and adds that the muzzling of dangerous breeds be enforced. Cllr Willie Aird said that no matter how friendly a dog is, it can "get vicious" and hurt a child in a park off leash.

"I've even seen people cycling in Portlaoise with their dog running beside them, no lead or muzzle," Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said.

The official reply on the motion details new Mutt Mitt dispensers coming to Portlaoise streets.

"The Portlaoise MD office will be installing 20 Mutt Mitt dog waste bag dispensers across the various Sli na Slainte route, 5  dispensers per route in the coming weeks. It is also intended to install additional signage in both the Triogue Linear Park and Pairc an Phobail to encourage and remind dogs owners to keep their pets on a leash while using the amenity areas.

"Control of Dogs Acts prescribe various legal obligations for dog owners. The Acts place responsibilities on dog owners and stipulate that dogs must be kept under effectual control and that, in the case of eleven restricted breeds named in the Control of Dogs (Restriction of Certain Dogs) Regulations, 1991, these breeds of dogs must be led by a strong chain or leash and securely muzzled in public places.

"Parks and Open Spaces Bye-Laws adopted by Laois County Council in 2006 state that no person shall take into or allow to remain in a park any dog unless it is on a leash and that if a dog defecates in the park, the person in charge of the dog shall remove the faeces and deposit it in a litter bin or other receptacle.

"Any person who shall breach any of the foregoing Bye-Laws may be removed from the park and can, on summary conviction be liable to a penalty not exceeding €1,270.00. One Fixed Penalty Notice has been issued for dog fouling in Portlaoise
Town in 2021," the council stated.