Owners face dog fouling crackdown
Dog owners in west Belfast, the area with the worst record for "poop-scooping" in the city, have been chosen by councillors as the focus of a new awareness campaign.
The "Your dog, your job" drive, which aims to remind dog owners that cleaning up after their pet is their job, will see those leaving a mess hit with an £80 on-the-spot fine.
Chair of the council's health and environmental services committee, councillor Pat McCarthy, said most of the complaints the council receives are about dog fouling.
"People are fed up with it littering our streets and are frustrated that some dog owners still think it's ok not to clean up after their pet," he said.
"We as a committee, and as a council, took the decision to put resources into a targeted campaign which will be concentrated first in the west of the city where recorded incidences of dog fouling are highest, before being rolled out in north, south and east Belfast."
Councillors say they have tried the soft approach, and are aware that stray dogs add to the problem, but with 135 dog owners fined last year for not owning up to their responsibilities, they said they are not seeing the behavioural changes needed to solve the problem.
Mr McCarthy continued: "There is no excuse for not cleaning up after your dog - not only is it unsightly and inconvenient, there are also health risks associated with dog faeces which can be harmful to people, especially children.
"You don't need a special bag or a special bin; we all have plastic bags at home so pop a couple in your pocket when you're out with the dog and there are hundreds of litter bins dotted around the city on streets or in parks, and you can use any one of them.
"Our dog wardens will be out and about and if you're caught not cleaning up after your dog, you face an £80 fine."
Members of the public are also being encouraged to report offenders so dog wardens can take action. They can report dog fouling in their area on 028 9027 0431 or email email@example.com.