Belfast council crackdown on dog owners who don't clean up
A tough new advertising campaign has been launched targeting the hard core of dog owners who don't clean up after their pets.
Belfast City Council has a stark message for offenders - 'Pick Up or Pay Up'.
If your dog fouls in a public place, owners risk an £80 on-the-spot fine - or more if you're taken to court.
Councillor Matt Garrett, chair of the council's People and Communities Committee, said: "The vast majority of dog owners are extremely responsible, and clean up after their pets.
"But we are aware that there is a minority who continue not to do so, and it is this hard core of offenders that this campaign is aimed at.
"We have to rely on our officers being in the right place at the right time to catch offenders, even in areas heavily affected by dog fouling.
"We also rely on the general public to report instances of persistent dog fouling - if we are told where this happens, the time of day and a description of the dog and its owner, then our dog wardens can pay special attention to the that area.
"The message of this campaign is clear - clean up after your dog or face an £80 fine. In other words, 'Pick up or Pay up'," Councillor Garrett said.
In addition to the new advertising campaign, the council has launched a social media competition aimed at highlighting the message.
Campaign mascot Scoop Dog and his team will be at lots of events over the summer months, and people are being encouraged to take a #selfiewithscoop and send it in for the chance to win some dog-related prizes.
Photographs can be submitted via Twitter, @belfastcc, or Facebook, at facebook.com/belfastcitycouncil, using the #selfiewithscoop. The closing date for entries is August 29.
The council wants dog owners to pledge to clean up after their dogs, put the waste in a litter bin or their black bin at home, remind others who walk their dog to clean up after it, carry bags for other dog walkers if they need one and never to let their dog out on its own.
If your dog is caught fouling in a public place and you fail to pick it up, you could be fined £80. If paid within 10 days, the fine will be reduced to £50.
Backing the campaign, Ian Humphreys of Keep NI Beautiful said that one in three sites surveyed by the charity fails to meet the cleanliness standard because of high levels of dog fouling.
"As well as being generally unpleasant, parasites and bacteria which may be present in dog fouling are potentially hazardous to health,," he said.
Further information can be found at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/dogfouling