'Wall of shame' to force dog owners to clean up mess
IRRESPONSIBLE dog owners who refuse to clean up after their pets could soon find themselves starring in an online wall of shame.
The initiative aimed at publicly forcing owners who don't scoop up after their pooches to change their ways is currently under discussion by four Dublin area councils.
The authorities have joined forces to combat dog fouling and Therese Langan, of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, said the dirty dog post is likely be a dedicated page on Facebook or another social media site.
And it could include mobile phone snaps of owners who allow their four-legged friends to foul in public. She told the Herald: "It is under discussion and it's being considered."
The campaign launch coincides with the opening of a special snitch line which encourages citizens to ring 1800 251 500 to report irresponsible owners.
Reports will be followed up by litter wardens who can issue €150 on-the-spot fines.
The move comes after the four local authorities logged more than 200 reports of dog fouling last year. The mayors yesterday launched the campaign to tackle the problem in Dublin, Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.
Ms Langan said while 80pc of dog owners do clean up after their pets, 20pc allow their dogs to foul in public – creating not only an unsightly and smelly nuisance for other members of the public but putting children at risk of Toxocariasis, a faecal-borne bacteria that can cause sight loss.
"Dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs are creating a serious environmental and public health issue for everyone else," she added. "It is also the leading environmental gripe Dubliners have."
But the councils don't believe increasing the number of litter bins is the answer as although there are around 6,000 receptacles that are cleaned twice a day, a minority still refuse to use them for dog dirt.
Then there are those who do "scoop" but then leave the plastic bag lying around – a particular bugbear for Fingal County Councillor Anthony Lavin who represents dog-walkers' favourites Malahide and Howth.
He said: "What I find bizarre is you have people picking it up in a plastic bag and leaving it hanging on a bush.
"I see it on the Coast Road, in Baldoyle, at Malahide Castle. Even now I'm walking past the Jervis Shopping Centre and I see a plastic bag of dog dirt thrown on the ground. Why don't people just take the extra step and throw it in a bin?"
Mr Lavin said he fully supports the concept of an online name and shame campaign.