Disgust as cemetery visitors run ‘gauntlet of dog mess’

PARENTS of young children in prams as well as the elderly had to side step footpaths full of dog mess on their way to a Lurgan cemetery, said a local SDLP councillor.

Cllr Declan McAlinden said he was ‘disgusted’ as he and others had to constantly step over lots of ‘dog fouling‘ on the footpaths at Tannaghmore School and leading to St Colman’s on Cemetery Sunday.

“I witnessed a number of parents with young children and prams having to divert onto the roads to avoid this disgusting problem in our borough. What was even worse was the fact that within yards of these incidents there were dog fouling bins,” he told the Mail.

“As a member of the Environment Committee, I’m calling on all dog owners in the borough to take more responsibility of their dog’s actions and if not be prepared to suffer the consequences of fines. Furthermore if anyone witnesses these problems please contact the council authorities immediately .

“Dog fouling is discussed regularly at meetings and until ‘you’ the general public start reporting these incidents this vile and disgusting problem will continue,” said Cllr McAlinden.

A spokesperson for the council said it is ‘steadfast in the fight against dog fouling’.

“Whilst there are a large number of responsible dog owners in the borough it only takes a few irresponsible ones to ruin that good name.

“Allowing a dog to foul in a public place is not only unpleasant and grotesque it is a health hazard and Council would encourage anyone who witnesses incidents of dog fouling to please report it,” she the spokesperson.

“A high profile campaign encouraging people to pick up after their dog or face a fine is receiving great support thanks to the efforts of vigilant members of our communities and the awareness built up through both the Lurgan Mail and Portadown Times. Craigavon also has the largest network of both litter and dog bins in Northern Ireland and the North Circular Road in particular, currently has five dog bins with a further three on Lake Street. Council’s street cleansing section has been notified to have the footpaths cleaned.

The spokesperson added: “Council is very proactive in following up all complaints about dog fouling and through a combined team effort involving the Environmental Wardens and the Licensing Officers Service, regular patrols are carried out throughout the Borough to catch those not handling their dogs appropriately.

“If the Dog Warden or an Environmental Warden see anyone allowing their dog to foul and not picking it up they will be issued with an on the spot fine of £50. So far this year a total of 28 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued for dog fouling and the licensing officers are currently working in this area regarding licensed and unlicensed dogs.

“Council would like to encourage residents to continue to contact them to report any sightings of dog fouling in order to try and catch the offenders. You can do this by calling 3831 2553 or 3831 2400 or by clicking on www.craigavondogfouling.com. You will be asked for your name and address, contact details, the date, time and location of the offence and information of the offence. All of these details are necessary as council needs specific evidence to be able to apprehend offenders. Council would like to stress that these Witness Statements are completely confidential and the perpetrator will not know who has reported them.”