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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dog fouling and illegal dumping


Before I start this post I must point out that I like dogs. I own a dog. I bring my dog for a walk. I pick up after my dog. And yes, I know most dog owners are responsible so I am talking here about the few and not the many. Increasingly I am getting complaints from members of the public about the nuisance that is dog fouling. Like illegal dumping it is an anti-social act. I will get to illegal dumping later.

I cannot understand why some dog owners refuse to pick up after their dog and put it in a bag. It is very simple. The pooper scoopers are even available free of charge through your local authority. There is no excuse. Dog fouling and littering are illegal offences. So I am finding it very difficult to understand the motivation of people who do so.

Here are some simple facts about dog fouling. The clean up costs the taxpayer money. Dog faeces can be harmful to human health. An infection called Toxocara canis can be caught if the waste is not removed immediately. The potential harm to human health from this infection is quite high, and can cause blindness in some cases. Dog faeces is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria such as salmonella and other forms of infection. It is often children who pick up the bacteria. So its simple really – we should not tolerate dog fouling. While I would support increasing fines and better surveillance as ways to combat the problem the real solution is people behaving a bit more responsibily.

Now to illegal dumping – another illegal and anti-social act. I was informed recently of a huge amount of rubbish found dumped along the Tramore Road. It is dumped near the river and sometimes into it. This is only one example. Illegal dumping is rampant in the city and the county. The cost of the cleanup is enormous and again there is no excuse. People who dump illegally know it is wrong yet they choose to do so. And in choosing to do so they should face the consequences. Waterford City Council operates a name and shame policy. I agree with this. But first people have to be caught. I would encourage anyone who witnesses someone engaged in illegal dumping to report it to the relevant authority. It is something that is getting out of hand and has to be seen as more socially unacceptable.

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