Residents want dog mess issue sorted

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THE Corrin Hall in Peel was packed with residents concerned about the on-going issue of how to tackle dog fouling in the town.

Responsible dog owners gathered together, with Peel Town Commissioners, to discuss how to resolve the current problem.

The issue brought up many suggestions on what can be done to help the area.

Residents are fed up with dog walkers who leave their animals’ mess and therefore spoil the beauty and enjoyment of the town.

The commissioners employ a town warden, who was praised for his efforts during the meeting, who can issue fixed penalty fines to dog owners for not cleaning up after their dog.

During the meeting it came to light that in the last two years there have been 10 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling and six for dogs on the beach, but during the last two weeks five tickets were issued for dogs being on the beach.

Peel MHK Minister Tim Crookall sent his apologies because he was taking part in the Roamin’ CoMin meeting and was unable to attend.

Commissioner Alan Jones, who joked that he never thought he would have done so much research on dog mess, said: ‘It is clear that the issue of dog fouling is one which should be taken seriously and demands some form of action by society and that the failure of inconsiderate and lazy dog owners to pick up after their pets requires to be dealt with.’

Mr Jones stated that the problem in the island is not confined to urban areas, but also affects the public areas in the country such as Peel Hill, Langness and other areas of beauty and recreation. He said: ‘It spoils our enjoyment of the resources available to us.’

Mr Jones spoke about the health issues that the excrement could cause, legislation, enforcement, education, cleansing, DNA testing, dog free areas and dog toilets.

One resident stood up and stated that it had been three-and-a-half years since the last meeting regarding this issue, the man stated that the commissioners were ‘talking to the converted’, who go to the town hall to get the free bags, ‘but other dog owners won’t’.

The man added that the town ‘needs to take a pro-active, not aggressive approach’ to tackling the issue.

The issue of previous dog bag dispensers that were in Peel was raised, the public stated that when you tried to get one bag out, people would end up getting 20 bags instead.

The bags were removed after the commissioners believed the use of the free bags was being abused after a large quantity of bags were taken in a short amount of time on numerous occasions.

At present, dog owners can get free dog bags from the town hall. A resident said if the dispenser was back in use dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs ‘would have no excuse not to [clean up]’.

Constable Charlotte Stringer suggested running a campaign to one similar to one she saw on TV, where posters with eyes ‘watching you’ are included.

It was suggested maybe pupils from Peel Clothworkers School could help design the posters, which could result in them winning an award.

Commissioner Neil Cushing asked for a show of hands to a number of suggestions people made, to see what was the most popular.

The majority of people at the meeting raised their hands in support when Mr Cushing mentioned enforcement, such as a second warden and CCTV in the area.

Commissioner Mr Jones, stated there is ‘no one solution to this problem’. He said: ‘In essence there needs to be a properly thought out strategy which would need to be government led to ensure full co-ordination throughout the island.

‘A few years ago the island won international awards for its problem solving approach to problems on Douglas promenade. I am surprised that this was not built on and used in other areas.

‘The issue of dog fouling is an ideal subject to problem solve. Problem solving is a tool which encourages wide consultation amongst all interested parties, considers evidence as to the effectiveness and costs of proposals and delivers a properly structured plan of action.’

Mr Jones added it would require a champion or committee who would consult widely with all interested parties to come up with the most effective strategy. This would not be costly and any associated costs could not be met by an increase in dog licence fees.’

A resident suggested getting volunteers together to patrol the town.

At the end of the meeting, one concerned woman said: ‘If you love your dog you should pick it [the mess] up, if you don’t you should not have one [a dog].’

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