Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is taking the lead on tackling problem dog fouling by officially launching the Green Dog Walkers Initiative.
The move is a non-confrontational and friendly way to encourage dog walkers to clean up after their pets.
Volunteers are encouraged to pledge to always pick up after their four-legged friends, carry extra dog waste bags, be happy to provide other dog walkers with waste bags and highlight any problem areas to Council.
Those who sign up to the scheme will be issued with Council-branded materials, including poop scoop bags and special leads and collars for their pets.
The initiative is another example of Council’s commitment to protecting and enhancing an attractive, safe and sustainable environment.
Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Cheryl Johnston, said: “The Green Dog Walkers Initiative is about educating the small minority of dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets.
“We have been delighted by the response to the scheme to date, with citizens being overwhelmingly supportive of the plans.
“The special leads and collars are very distinctive. In fact, as we officially launched this initiative, the public’s attention was caught by those pooches wearing the Council-branded Green Dog Walker leads and collars as they and their owners enjoyed the many local walkways.
“I would encourage dog owners to sign up to the Green Dog Walkers pledge and for all to keep an eye on Council’s social media as Officers go borough-wide with our roadshows.
“We know and appreciate that the vast majority of dog walkers in the area are responsible, but dog fouling remains an issue locally.
“I encourage members of the public to contact Council with any information regarding concerns they have about dog fouling. Every report or complaint Council receives is investigated.
“We thank all those dog owners who are responsible and keep our streets and footpaths clean and safe.”
The Green Dog Walkers Initiative was previously cited by the Association for Public Service Excellence as an example of good practice, with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council being among the first Councils in Northern Ireland to roll out the scheme.
Council officers will be visiting community events and popular dog-walking spots over the coming months to raise awareness and encourage the public to participate in the scheme.
School pupils will also receive information and education on responsible dog ownership.
Anybody who allows their dog to foul in public and fails to pick it up could be given an £80 on-the-spot fine. Failure to pay could result in court action.
For details on becoming a Green Dog Walker, or if you have any queries regarding dog fouling, please contact the Enforcement Officer Team at Mid and East Antrim Environmental Health Office on:
T: 028 25 633 120
E: [email protected]
The pledge can be read in full on the MEA Councils Dogs and Animal Welfare page.