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Only one fine issued for dog fouling in Clare last year was paid with 83 complaints submitted on the matter.

An increase in dog fouling has been recorded by Clare County Council, with several initiatives in operation in a bid to eradicate the problem.

Two weeks ago, evidence emerged on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne Show, detailing that around half of the country’s local authorities failed to issue a single fine for dog fouling in 2020.

It emerged that seven councils had failed to issue a fine in relation to dog fouling in 2020. These include Galway City, Sligo, Offaly, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Leitrim and Carlow County Councils. It was also found that In the same year, 40% of the 47 Fixed Penalty Notices dished out to pet-owners who did not scoop their dog’s waste went unpaid.

Clare County Council has recorded 83 complaints relating to dog fouling in 2020. This subsequently led to four fines being issued, with only one of these successfully being paid. To date in 2021, 19 complaints have been lodged with the Council, leading to one fine, which has successfully been paid.

Fines are issued under Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act. The Environmental Patrol Wardens issue fines where there is evidence of an offence. In some cases, members of the public supply information which allows the local authority to issue a fine.

A spokesperson for Clare County Council stated: “We encourage dog owners to always clean up after their dog using any bag and disposing of it in a public litter bin. Where there is no public litter bin available, we ask dog owners to bring home their dog waste and place it in their general waste bin.”

Some of the efforts involved in countering the issue of dog fouling in the county include a Waste Enforcement Team, who along with the Dog Warden carry out patrols at various locations throughout the county. During these patrols dog-owners are actively engaged and advised of their responsibilities.

Signage is also erected, and footpath stencils are used at known dog littering black spots to remind dog owners of their responsibilities. Issuing of written correspondence in areas where dog littering is occurring is also being carried out.

Responsible dog ownership is promoted through local media such as The Clare Echo to create “a hard-hitting visual awareness campaign which depicts the impact of dog fouling. This awareness campaign highlights both health implications from dog fouling and also the importance of dog owner responsibility.”

Provision of free dog litter bags, the creation of an animation awareness series, supporting Dogs Trust and a Green Dog Walkers Campaign also assist in combatting county-wide dog fouling.

“The majority of people walking dogs in public spaces are conscientious about picking up dog litter and can help get the message out to others by leading by example,” the Council stated.

Community groups or individuals interested in becoming involved in the Green Dog Walkers Campaign can get in touch by emailing greenerclare@clarecoco.ie or telephoning 065-6846331.

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