Green Party Justice Spokesperson Patrick Costello TD today introduced new legislation designed to dramatically increase the fine for dog fouling from €150 to €1500. The proposed bill would amend the Litter Pollution Act 1997 and aims to provide for public health and cleaner streets by increasing the deterrent for those failing to scoop the poop and incentivising enforcement by local authorities.
Figures recently released by Dublin City Council show there has been effectively no enforcement in the Dublin City area since 2019 with 1 fine issued in the last 3 and half years. The most fines issued by DCC in recent years was 78 in 2016 which equates to revenue of €11,700 under the current legislation.
While fines are not a revenue raising measure given they are designed to deter harmful behaviours which should reduce with effective enforcement. If this bill is adopted, those previous peak levels of enforcement would deliver €117,000 in fines which could be reinvested as seed funding for new poo prevention initiatives. This would equate to c.€3.6million across Ireland’s 31 local authorities.
Speaking ahead of introducing the Litter Pollution Amendment Bill (2022) in the Dáil, Deputy Costello said: “This is an issue which has blighted communities across the country for many years. Since I entered politics in 2014 dog poo has been the single most repeated complaint to me when speaking to constituents. It’s on their streets, in their parks and on the footpaths outside their local businesses.”
Costello continued: “Based on the lived experience of my constituents and people across the country, a cohort of dog owners are not deterred by the current fine for failing to scoop the poop. Not only is it gross but leaving dog poo on our streets and in our parks is a risk to human health, particularly for small children. Dog poo can contain harmful bacteria such as E-coli and parasites like roundworm.”
Concluding, he said: “This bill is very simple, if enacted it increases the deterrent and incentivises a push by local authorities to crackdown on those who don’t clean up their dog’s mess.”