Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein Bill proposes mandatory dog litter bags for owners

The bill is sponsored by TDs Sean Crowe and Kathleen Funchine and is hoped to be introduced to the Dail on Wednesday.

(PA)
(PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

A new Sinn Fein Bill proposes to make it mandatory for all dog owners to carry litter bags, or face a fine.

The purpose of the Litter Pollution Amendment of the Dog Litter Control Bill 2019 “is to impress those in charge of dogs the importance of picking up their pet’s faeces when in public by making it an offence not to produce a suitable bag when in charge of a dog and when requested to do so by a dog warden, litter warden, or member of An Garda Siochana”.

The party says the bill would make the possession of a dog litter bag a similar requirement to that of a leash when out walking a dog, and face the same on-the-spot fine if a bag cannot be produced.

The genesis of the bill came about after a number of local residents on canvasses reported the issue of dog litter when speaking to Sinn Fein representatives.

bpanews_5cc93ec4-d85a-4d01-a74b-52dfe2c626bb_embedded225785169
Sinn Fein’s Kathleen Funchion is among those backing the call (Niall Carson/PA)

Party sources say the are hoping for cross-party support on the bill.

“We know the issue is raised in all constituencies so we would be hoping that all parties would see the serious health implications involved in the issue,” a spokesman said.

The bill is sponsored by TDs Sean Crowe and Kathleen Funchion and is hoped to be introduced to the Dail on Wednesday.

Mr Crowe says a minority of dog owners who do not clean up after their dog are putting others at risk.

“It’s time literally to cut the shit and clamp down on the small but significant group of irresponsible dog owners who continue to destroy and pollute our communities,” he said.

“This is an important and serious health issue which is constantly raised by constituents on the doors, in clinics and even when just out walking about.

“Despite the introduction of the law making it an offence to not pick up your dog’s litter, our parks and communities are still littered with dog excrement.

“This is partially because wardens have to actually witness a dog fouling and the person responsible leaving the dog’s waste behind in order to impose a penalty. A small minority of dog owners simply don’t give a damn what their dog does and have no real fear of being caught under the current legislation.

“This is also a serious public health issue as dog litter carries disease which can lead to fever, cough or wheezing, enlarged liver, rash or swollen lymph nodes and even blindness.

“If a child or an adult gets this on their skin they could potentially be damaged for life.

“This new legislation makes it easier for wardens to impose fines on irresponsible dog owners by making it an offence to be in charge of a dog in public without having a suitable bag or instrument to properly dispose of its waste.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph