DOGS may be banned from Bradda if dog owners continue to refuse to pick up after their pets.
Notices went up in the area warning dog owners of the possible ban a few weeks ago.
The sign – put up by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) – reads: ‘Attention all dog walkers. Dog fouling in this area has become unacceptable. A significant number of complaints have been made to the department. The irresponsible attitude of a small number of dog owners is spoiling the enjoyment of this glen for the majority of members of the public who walk the area. If this situation does not improve steps may be taken by the department to close this site to dog walkers.
‘Please clean up after your dog and deposit bagged waste in the receptacles provided.’
This is a ‘last resort’ said DEFA, that has owned the glen and headland since 2009 – and reflects the desperation to find a solution to a persistent problem.
‘It’s a terrible problem,’ said Graeme Watson, access and recreation officer at DEFA. ‘Bradda and Port Soderick are hot spots. It [banning dogs] would be a last resort, but we would like to think visitors could respect the area.
‘We want people to pick it up. Some people drive in, let their dog out of the car, that is not acceptable, we would like to think they would keep a close eye on their dogs.’
He added since the signs have been erected, ‘things have improved a little. We have been informed that some of the regular dog walkers have been picking up after dogs not their own.
‘Whilst perhaps not the ideal result, it does at least indicate the lengths that visitors are willing to go to preserve their pastime.’
In the past, the department has resorted to spraying blue paint on dog faeces in the area to highlight how numerous droppings are, but more radical measures are needed to drive the message home.
Mr Watson reminded dog owners that DEFA employees work in the area: ‘It is a working environment … people work there, foresters strim the ground.’
He added staff have had a few unpleasant surprises while strimming, and dog fouling in the area is always raised at regular staff meetings.
Also, the newly refurbished Bradda Glen cafe and restaurant is attracting more families, and they hope to introduce play facilities in the glen to encourage more into the area, meaning more children will be in the vicinity.
‘It is a very simple thing to carry bags with you, but we do not want people to then tie the bag on bushes, it takes even longer to degrade. It’s just a reminder: “Sharpen up and smarten up, keep the dog under control”.’
Closer to a dog ban may be another hot spot, at Port Soderick. ‘Sadly, things have been less successful at Port Soderick where the same notices have been defaced and dog owners are still allowing their dogs to foul,’ he said.
‘This follows on from previous littering issues in the glen’s car park as well as the vandalism to a bin which was burned. Without a more responsible attitude shown by some, Port Soderick Glen may be a site that the department considers worthy of introducing more stringent controls over access for dogs.’
While he acknowledged the majority of dog owners are responsible and do pick up, for those persistent offenders, a legal prosecution is required, he said.
‘We need a prosecution on this island, this is an opportunity for local authorities to come together. Once word gets out … it is only when you hit the coffers.’
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Weather for Isle of Man
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
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Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
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