Residents have been urged to take the initiative in helping stamp out the scourge of dog fouling in the Waterside and Faughan areas.
Ahead of the expected introduction of new council strategy to tackle the problem, members of the community are being offered a confidential facility to report offenders.
Alderman David Ramsey has taken up the issue after receiving “many phone calls” from areas of the Waterside and Faughan,
Along with a community representative, the DUP man met with a Derry City and Strabane Council dog warden and cleansing department official. Mr Ramsey said: “People are being asked to try and note times that dogs are seen fouling to help with investigations and also witnesses can report to their local community centre in confidence to try and have irresponsible dog owners fined.
“We did a walk around areas and it is shocking how much fouling there is around many areas.”
Cllr Ramsey, who also met with the Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership strategy management team, added that council’s Environmental Health team will be attending to the next community safety meeting “to discuss new laws coming soon about this issue, also to plan a joint-up strategy against dog fouling”.
“In the meantime, we would urge people to be vigilant and pass on any information to the council or your local community centre.”
If your dog is caught fouling in a public place you could be fined £80. Failure to pay this can lead to court where the fine could increase to up to £1,000.
Council confirmed the Environmental Health Service is working with elected and community representatives to shape a new approach to tackling the ongoing issues of irresponsible dog ownership.
A spokesperson for the local government authority said: “Key areas include: dog fouling, uncontrolled/straying dogs and dog licensing. Our officers have been visiting local areas to raise awareness of these problems and discuss how these issues can be dealt with more effectively on a community level.
“Dog fouling, which is both a nuisance and a health hazard, continues to be a blight to our council area. Dog owners should always carry a plastic bag or poop scoop bag when they walk their dog and should bag and bin any dog fouling caused by their pet. Failure to clean up after your dog could result in a £80.00 fixed penalty or in court a maximum fine of £1000.00.
“Please contact us with details of irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs to foul or even times when it is occurring. Contact our Dog Wardens on 02871 253253.
“In the coming months council hopes to produce, with the support of various stakeholders, a new responsible dog ownership strategy and action plan. This strategy will be brought before council members for consideration as well as being subject to public consultation. It should be recognised that the majority of dog owners look after their dogs responsibly.”