NURSERY school children in Lurgan are having to tread a careful path.
The footpath in front of Harrison Nursery School has been blighted by regular dog fouling and the school’s principal has hit out at the offenders.
Harrison principal Jill Hunter said: “The earliest I’d be here is 7am and it’s already there. There’s fresh fouling every morning which leads me to believe this must be somebody letting out their dog before that and allowing it to run free and foul wherever it wants.
“It’s absolutely terrible, I’ve been told the person can be prosecuted if I see the dog doing it and see which house it goes back into.
“My first job is to clean up the footpath outside the school every morning.”
Mrs Hunter said the dog fouling issue was also affecting the neighbouring Lurgan Junior High School and was an issue right through Mourneview.
She commented: “There is a problem the whole way through Mourneview. We walk the children through Mourneview to the post box beside the shops where we post letters. We have to have someone go in front of us to remove the dog fouling from the path.”
She added: “It’s annoying for parents if children walk it into their homes or cars. It’s annoying for us if the children walk it into the school.
“There’s also health implications for young children coming into contact with this.”
Mrs Hunter continued: “It’s not the dog’s fault - it’s the owner’s.
“The council have been great and have sent someone out almost immediately after I’ve phoned to complain. There’s dog bins at either side of the school so it’s not as if there are no facilities to dispose of dog waste.
“Council have sent out a mail shot reminding dog owner’s they can be prosecuted. We tell children to be careful and I’ve heard a lot of mums telling their children to take care.”
Craigavon Borough Council say they take a strict ‘zero tolerance’ approach to dog fouling and has focused on Lower Toberhewney Lane in recent weeks. A spokesperson said: “Allowing your dog to foul on public property and failing to clear it up is irresponsible, highly unpleasant, potentially dangerous and illegal.
“Environmental wardens and the dog warden have been patrolling the area regularly including early morning and evening patrols to try and combat the problem. A leaflet drop has taken place appealing to the public to report anyone they witness allowing their dog to foul in this area and a number of new dog bins have also been installed.
“In the past year 61 fixed penalty notices have been issued. To date over 400 dog bins have been installed in the borough.
“To report a problem of dog fouling in this particular area please call 3833 9031 with details of the offender.”