BUSINESS owners in Cookstown are kicking up a stink over irresponsible dog owners and the state their pets are leaving footpaths in the town centre.
The problem is getting up the nose of retailers over the increased fouling and owners not scooping up after their best friend goes to the toilet at the doors of some of the town’s most prominent premises.
One retailer reported discarding a shovelful of dog excrement outside his shop which he thought “an elephant had dropped”.
Shoppers have also been complaining about the mess on the streets.
“I can’t understand why people can’t take their mess home when they are out walking their dog,” one angry trader told the MAIL.
“I wonder if the owner of the dog responsible would be happy if I took my dog for a walk outside his door and left that sort of mess.”
Brian Jordan, President of the Chamber of Commerce confirmed that there has been an increase in members highlighting the issue over the last few months. Mr Jordan has now raised the matter with the Council’s Dog Warden about the problem.
He said: “Cookstown as a town has had a great image over the last few years and is free of graffiti and litter, which the Council technical staff pay great attention to eradicating.
“It is unfair for workers and shop owners to have to clean up dog foul and I ask pet owners to have some consideration for other people and their property when they take their pet for a walk.”
Mr Jordan has asked any business owner who may have CCTV images that can identify those responsible to make it available to the Police.
On Tuesday it was announced that from April 1st this year, dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets could be hit with an on-the-spot fine of £80.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act comes deals with problems such as light pollution, noisy burglar alarms, littering and graffiti, as well as dog fouling.
It means district councils will be able to impose fines instead of taking people to court for offences including nuisance parking, abandoned vehicles and noise.
Commenting on the issue raised by traders a spokesperson for Cookstown District Council told the MAIL: “Council would encourage all dog owners to act responsibly when taking their pets for a walk.
“Use home carrier bags to clean up any foul that is deposited and dispose of it in the bins that are provided.
“Any area that is reported to council to have a dog fouling problem will be monitored, including out-of-hours, by staff and anyone found to be committing an offence will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Fine in the region of £50 to £75.”
“Offenders can also face court action and a penalty of £2500.”