Discussing the ongoing phenomenon at a recent meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council councillors were divided on the merit of introducing temporary cameras and signage in public spaces in a bid to address dog fouling and environmental littering.
The scheme, which is to be piloted in the Rosemount area for up to six weeks initially, will be utilised in areas where dog fouling has been identified as a significant problem. Members also heard that not a single dog fouling prosecution was brought to bear in 2016/17.
“Dog fouling is a very difficult area to crack down on,” head of Health, Community and Well-being Seamus Donaghy remarked.
However, addressing those present, the SDLP’s Brian Tierney wondered if expenditure on temporary cameras could be a waste of money, as so much CCTV is already in place.
“We need to look at this and we need to do it very, very quickly,” he said.
Conversely, Eric McGinley from Sinn Féin and Gus Hastings from the SDLP were both in favour of the new system. “The proposal has to be welcomed,” Cllr McGinley said.
Gus Hastings remarked, “Responsible dog owners will be glad we are introducing this system.”
However Strabane independent councillor, Paul Gallagher who has long been the advocate of DNA testing for dog fouling, a system which has already been launched in a number of English council areas, said the CCTV concept would be ineffective.
“I understand the scourge of dog fouling,” Cllr Gallagher said. “But this system won’t get to the root cause of dog fouling. We need to be exploring other avenues to get to the root cause.”
Cllr Gallagher further suggested Derry and Strabane might team up with another council in the North to help eradicate dog fouling through DNA testing.
He concluded, “How effective is this going to be? It’s not getting to the root cause.”
Notwithstanding the discord, the CCTV proposals were passed by members.