Stink is raised over dog mess

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The amount of dog mess along the riverside walk of Solitude has been described as ‘absolutely disgusting’ and park-users are urging dog owners to show more consideration for children playing in there.

A recent visitor to the park, Sarah Hirsk, said the tree-lined area by the river on the Castlewellan Road side of the park is the worst-affected with the problem getting worse.

“The sheer amount of un-picked-up dog poo is a disgrace,” she said.

“It’s almost as though some dog owners have thought - ah I’m out of sight, who’s looking?” she continued.

A council spokesperson said the problem is down to a small number of thoughtless owners who still refuse to clean up after their pets.

But, added the spokesperson, most dog owners act in a responsible manner towards dog fouling.

“The council employ Dog and Environmental Wardens to patrol the district investigating and acting on incidents of dog fouling,” he continued.

“As well as the warden patrols the council utilise a number of other deterrents to highlight and deal with the problem of dog fouling including the use of signage highlighting the issue of dog fouling in various locations.

“The signs inform that the area is being monitored by the council’s Dog and Environmental Wardens and act as a warning to irresponsible dog owners who do not clean up after their animals.

“In various areas where dog fouling and environmental crime persists CCTV cameras may be put into operation.

“These cameras can be used to record offending individuals and their dogs plus identify times when offences are committed so the wardens may be deployed at the right time.

“The wardens also carry a harness camera to record instances of fouling.

“Owners who do not clean up after their dog can receive a £50 fixed penalty notice however persistent offenders can receive a fine of up to £500,” the spokesperson warned.

“As the wardens have a large area to cover they must also rely on the help of the public to inform them on instances of persistent dog fouling.

“If a member of the public is aware of incidents of dog fouling they should report this to the council Environmental Health Department on 028 4066 0606.”