Speaker barks warning at dog owners using park

by Sylvia Pownall

A NEW motion-activated speaker at a Swords park alerting dog walkers to pick up their pets’ poo has raised a few eyebrows.
Fingal County Council erected the speaker at the entrance to the Ward River Valley Park – and it delivers its message every time someone passes by.
A similar device is in place at Glen Allan and Castleview estates in Swords after the anti-dog fouling device was first piloted in Baldoyle.
But Mayor Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) is not yet won over. He told The Gazette: “I did get a bit of a shock when out of nowhere came a message and a reminder to clean up after dogs.
“If it helps, great – but there was still dog dirt on the paths as around 100 people made their way around for the park run.”
Fingal County Council said the anti-dog fouling audio device was first piloted in Baldoyle in 2013 and reduced fouling along the promenade by 82%.
A spokesperson added: “It now forms part of the ongoing activities within the Environment division in an effort to combat dog fouling.
“These devices are mobile and can be deployed on a temporary basis at various locations within the county.”
Funding for the scheme is secured through the anti-litter grant scheme run by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
However, Cllr Butler thinks the stick might work better than the carrot. He said: “At the end of the day we have responsible dog owners and irresponsible dog owners.
“Personally I think we need more bins and more wardens.
“They need to be challenged and fined; it’s the only way. I certainly don’t feel safe letting my young lad on the grass kicking a ball.”
Meanwhile, the public will soon be consulted on the provision of so-called ‘bark parks’ for dogs in some Fingal public parks.
The council is exploring the possibility of providing designated off-leash areas for dog owners under new byelaws governing open spaces.

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