‘Robust action needed to tackle dog fouling’

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Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council has been urged to get tough on irresponsible pet owners in a bid to tackle the borough’s dog fouling problem.

The issue was raised by Councillor Mark Baxter at a meeting of council’s Environmental Services Committee last week in response to complaints from angry residents.

The DUP Group Leader said he is “inundated day and daily with complaints from residents sick, sore and tired of having to avoid dog mess on footpaths.”

“I believe dog fouling, while it has always been a major problem, seems to be getting worse,” he commented.

“I raised it at the committee meeting and there was broad agreement with other councillors and they all agreed that more robust action must be taken in tackling the problem and new initiatives must be explored to send a clear message to the totally irresponsible dog owners.”

Cllr Baxter stressed that council officials have given him assurances that work is ongoing to tackle the issue.

“I used the opportunity to convey the depth of feeling within the community and I welcome the fact that this is being brought back to us,” he added.

“I will continue to lobby on behalf of the people and will be raising the issue once again at the full council sitting at the end of this month, and in spearheading a campaign, will be hoping to secure a definite commitment and consensus from fellow councillors. The message is clear: ‘It’s your dog, your responsibility’.”

Local DUP Councillor Paul Greenfield has backed his party colleague, calling for “more resources to tackle this specific issue.”

“I was on the Environment Committee last year and we as a party have raised this a number of times, but it seems not much is changing. I know it’s difficult to sort out, but we have to get a handle on it as it is something very unpleasant for all residents of the area,” he said.

“I have been in touch with residents across the town and it seems to be an issue which at times can seem more concentrated in an area but has been an issue in most parts of the town at some stage.”

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council describes dog fouling as “an extremely sensitive issue” and says it is committed to ensuring people can enjoy “a clean and pleasant environment free from the dog mess left by irresponsible dog owners.”