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Council to look at costs of installing taps in Derry parks to clean up dog poo

Latest measure discussed over the long-running issue of dog-fouling

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Derry City and Strabane District Council is to look at the potential costs of installing taps in local park to clean up dog poo.

The idea was put forward by local councillor Angela Dobbins at the council's monthly meeting on Thursday.

“There is nothing worse than a parent pushing a pram and the pram being clattered with dog's dirt and trying to get it into the car with no means of washing it off in the meantime until they get home,” said the SDLP councillor.

She proposed at the meeting that a report be prepared by council officers in relation to how much it would cost to install external taps with hoses in local parks.

She said the taps could be used to clean dog dirt off pram wheels, bicycle wheels and people's shoes.

Cllr Dobbins's proposal was supported by a number of other councillors at the meeting.

Sinn Fein Michaela Boyle, who lost the sight in one eye when a child as a result of coming into contact with dog faeces, said she would support the proposal.

Cllr Boyle lost the sight in her left eye when she was five years old as a result of toxocariasis.

Toxocariasis is a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites.

People can catch it from handling  soil or sand contaminated with infected animal faeces.

While supporting the tap proposal, Cllr Boyle said the council would need to assess how the waste water and dog dirt would be removed from the park areas and the health and safety issues in relation to this.

Cllr Boyle also thanked the Mayor, Brian Tierney, and council officers for their efforts in a recent renewed campaign against dog-fouling in the council area.

As part of the campaign, the Mayor has visited local areas to hand out leaflets highlighting the dangers posed by dog-fouling.

The council has also pledged to increase the number of dog-fouling patrols in the local area.

Staff within the council's leisure services department, who had been on furlough as a result of the pandemic, have been brought back to work to help out with the patrols.

The council has also put together a list of priority areas where they will be concentrating their efforts in relation to dog-fouling.

Speaking at Thursday's meeting, SDLP councillor John Boyle highlighted the plight of wheelchair-users who often came into contact with dog dirt.

He described the idea to install taps in local parks as a 'first class' proposal and said it would have his backing.

Cllr Boyle said if dog-owners who allow their pets to foul were aware of the damage that can be caused then they may do something about.

It was agreed at Thursday's meeting that a report on the taps proposal would be prepared for the next meeting of the council's Environment and Regeneration Committee.

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