Councillor's dog claims drive Dalkey pet owners barking mad
A DISPUTE has broken out between south Dublin dog owners and a local politician over the number of complaints about unleashed dogs.
Cllr Richard Humphreys has claimed that more than 100 complaints have been made about dogs to the council -- but locals say he is playing up the figures.
Liz Neligan, one of the organisers of Dogs Unleashed -- a group fighting to amend the dog control byelaws that prohibit dogs from some beaches and ban them from being exercised without a lead on others -- is disputing claims made by the councillor.
Her group is arguing for responsible dog ownership to continue in areas around Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and for a clampdown on dog fouling, instead of confining unleashed dogs to particular areas at set times.
She said Cllr Richard Humphreys is incorrectly linking the issue of dog fouling to the compulsory use of a leash.
But Cllr Humphreys said the dog walkers are being given plenty of concessions for walking their dogs unleashed, in non-swimming areas on beaches at any time of the day.
He told the Herald: "I know the figures, and it's over 100 complaints were received by the council in relation to unleashed dogs, dog attacks, or dog waste. And that's only for 2011 up until October so we don't know the full figures yet. And these are only the ones which have been reported."
He added: "I'm not a dog owner but I'm all for dogs. They're valuable for everyone and we have to care for them.
"Unleashed dogs are not limited to hours of darkness [for six months of the year under the new byelaws]. They're allowed in non-swimming areas of beaches so it's not just darkness hours."
But Ms Neligan hit back: "He's conveniently lumping 100 complaints under three separate issues together for the total number of complaints. He talks about complaints about dog waste, but dog waste distresses dog owners as much as non dog owners.
"We do agree that dog waste left by dogs which are not under control needs to be addressed. We're offering to work in partnership with the council to eliminate this anti-social behaviour."
Aideen Jones has a mixed breed nine-year-old dog Hoover and is fighting to be allowed to walk him on Killiney beach if she chooses.
"There has to be give and take, and certainly on Sandycove beach you can't have a lot of dogs and children running around together in summer, but if they're going to introduce a ban on where dogs can be on a leash all the time, that's ridiculous."
Meanwhile, a council spokesperson has confirmed that the closing date for public submissions on the proposed amended Beach Byelaws is February 20, following which a report will be brought to Council for consideration by councillors. The spokesperson said "only a small number of submissions had been received" so far.