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Colourful new initiative aimed at tackling dog fouling

Follow the footprints and dump that dirt.

DONEGAL County Council has launched a colourful new initiative aimed at getting dog owners to dump their pooch’s poop.

The scheme sees colourful paw prints stencilled on footpaths clearly indicating where dog owners should be disposing of their dog’s litter.

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“This is a simple initiative,” says Martin Roarty, Litter Warden for Letterkenny Municipal District who first introduced the idea to the Council.

“I have seen this working in other places and I thought it would be an idea to try it out in Letterkenny first and I am delighted with the response we have received. It is a great way to deliver an important message in a friendly and positive way and of communicating with the general public on an important issue.

“We have stencilled colourful paw prints on the footpaths leading to a bin with the simple message ‘clean it up, any bag, any bin’.

“It is about reminding dog owners of their responsibility to clean up after their dogs and we have targeted areas where dogs are normally walked and where dog fouling has been causing a nuisance. We hope to introduce this to other areas in the county in the coming weeks and months and last week myself and my colleague Pearse McCrory brought our stencils to the Shorefront in Buncrana where we once again got a positive response from the public.”

Dog waste is not just smelly and unsightly, it also poses a health risk to public health.

“We are keen to remind the public that you don’t need a special bin to dispose of pet waste, it can be put in any bin as long as it is bagged properly,” says Martin Roarty.

It adds up. One pile of pet waste might not seem like a lot but thousands of dogs live in Donegal, generating large amounts of waste throughout the county every day. When not disposed of properly, this waste washes into local waterways and causes problems with human and pet health such as giardia; roundworms; salmonella; other viruses and parasites impacting on water quality and reducing oxygen for fish.

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Dog owners or handlers who do not dispose of dog waste in a responsible way could receive an on the spot fine of €150 and failure to pay can lead to prosecution with a maximum fine of €3,000.

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