The My Litter My Responsibility campaign that was launched in 2013 by the Tipperary Gold Star Disability Awareness Initiative, to raise specific awareness of the terrible impact of dog pooh and how it impacts wheelchair users, has resulted in very little to no improvement in dog pooh litter on the streets of Tipperary town.
“Our wheelchair users at the IWA Tipp town have reported that there has been no improvement on dog litter in Tipperary Town,” said Don Campbell Service Coordinator IWA.
“Our members report that the worst areas for dog litter is the Cashel Road, Fr. Matthew Street, Blind Street and the road around the Tipp Garda Station. It’s awful for our users who get dog pooh on their hands and bring it indoors.”
Although the Tipperary Gold Star Disability Awareness Initiative has had the full support of the Tipperary Town Council with many councilors turning out for events and launches, it has been confirmed by Town Clerk Paul Murray that there has been no ‘on-the-spot dog litter fines’ issued for the years 2012 and 2013 by Tipperary town council.
The Nationalist asked Paul Murray, Town Clerk if there could be more vigilance issuing the €150 on the spot fine in the future as a deterrent to dog owners.
“I believe that issuing on-spot-fines isn’t everything but that public awareness is key and people being responsible for their pets. We have one traffic warden and catching someone with their dog is difficult,” said Paul Murray.
“Our only power to issue fines is under the litter pollution act and that is a €150 on-the-spot fine. The dog litter issue has been discussed in council meetings and we have considered putting up signage to alert people to fines. However, other towns have done this and this route has not made much difference. It is up to the dog owners to be responsible.”
A Tipperary citizen who preferred to stay anonymous was asked about the failure to impose a fine for dog pooh litter in the town.
“If you park your car on a yellow line for two minutes you will get a parking ticket and yet there is dog pooh all over the streets and no fines are being issued.”
IWA Service Coordinator Don Campbell is making a special plea to the public.
“Those who have dogs please clean up… those who have stray dogs get them home. It is simple. I think that the on-the-spot dog litter fine is a good idea as a deterrent and should be pursued by the Tipperary town council.”
The Tipperary Gold Star Disability Awareness Initiative has worked hard over the last few years, with the assistance of print media including the Nationalist and local radio, to make the public aware of the dog pooh litter impact on wheelchair users and the visually impaired. The 2013 My Litter My Responsibility campaign raised awareness in many South Tipperary primary schools by getting them involved in an art competition ‘My Litter My Responsibility - the impact on people with disability’ competition, that cumulated in the Poohchew Video – A video on Litter Awareness that was re-launched recently with the voice-over by Daniel Gubbins.
In 2013 the My Litter My Responsibility Campaign, with a particular focus on dog pooh and chewing gum on our streets, was launched with the South Tipperary Development Company (STDC) at the Excel Arts Centre Tipperary town, by MEP Brian Cowley. The launch was attended by numerous councilors from Clonmel and Tipperary including: Cllr. John Crosse (2013 Chairman of South Tipperary County Council), 2013 Mayor of Clonmel Billy Shoer, 2013 Tipperary Town Mayor Ruaidhri Devitt, T.D. Tom Hayes, the Tipperary Chamber of Commerce and Aidan Finn, Tipperary Town Area Engineer, South Tipperary County Council. But after such support on the day and with the attendance of Councilors and Mayors at other launches and events, it has come to light that no dog pooh on-the-spot fines have been issued in Tipperary town for 2012 and 2013 as a deterrent and the IWA Tipperary Town reports no improvement at all in dog litter on the streets of Tipperary town.
Many businesses and local organisations have got on board in partnership with the Tipperary Gold Star Disability awareness campaign and huge inroads have been made in schools, to educate children and get them involved in awareness through projects and competitions.
But is public awareness through media campaigns and public events enough to deter dog owners from allowing their pooches to poop on the streets? Apparently not. Is the old adage or ‘hurting your pocket’ a better way to get people’s attention? Usually. If you received an on-the-spot fine of €150 would you let our dog poop on the street again?
Dog Litter Bins and Pooper Scoopers
Eleanor Halligan is a member of staff at the IWA Tipperary town and a dog owner. ”I take my dog for a walk and I clean up afterwards when he goes to the toilet but there are no dog pooh bins in the town and I’ve noticed that although there are some in the Tipperary Hills, they are full and are not being emptied.”
Dog Litter bins were erected in the Tipperary Hills but the council report that they are being stuffed full with all sorts of things than the purpose they were put there for.