IRRESPONSIBLE dog walkers have been criticised after a couple counted 50 discarded dog poo bags littered around a local beauty spot.
Christopher McDowell, and his wife Lyndsey, were walking their dog around Cairn Wood on Sunday when they noticed a large number of poo bags hung up on trees or thrown into bushes.
“My wife and I had heard of all the recent trail upgrades at Cairn Wood and decided to take our dog for a walk to investigate,” said Christopher.
“We were very much looking forward to our walk, however we were both dismayed and disgusted at the amount of dog poop bags left lying around. We counted 50 separate bags around the outer trail.
“I don’t understand why dog owners go to the trouble of bagging their dog mess, only to leave it hanging from a tree?”
Politicians said they are seeing an increase in complaints with dog fouling in the area.
Green Party councillor Rachel Woods, said the littering and dog fouling in Cairn Wood is ‘a total disgrace’.
“I do not understand why anyone using the park to enjoy a beautiful walk with their dog would consider leaving dog fouling on the path, and then go to the effort of bagging it and then hanging it from a tree,” she said.
“There are plenty of bins in the park and they should be used. If they are full, find another one, or take it home. It’s common sense.
“I have had an increased amount of reports in recently on this, with residents and users of popular walking areas raising this as a continuing issue. It seems to be more acceptable for some reason now that a small amount of people just leave their dog’s mess on pavements, or do bag it, and then tie it to a tree, or throw it in a hedge, which I do not understand.
“I know that enforcement patrols have targeted the area specifically, however this requires the witnessing and observing of offences which can be tricky. Not picking up after your dog is disgusting.
“I have been assured that there has been an increase in staffing levels within the team in Council who can issue fixed penalty notices, however, it should not have to come down to being fined. This should be a given for all responsible dog owners. The message is really clear – pick it up, put it into a bin.”
Alliance MLA Andrew Muir said Cairn Wood is a ‘beautiful scenic public place’ which is used by many and shouldn’t be ruined by those ‘too lazy to take their dog poo bag to the nearest bin’.
“The rules are simple, bag it and bin it,” said Mr Muir.
“Whilst I have repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, requested an additional bin further into the wood away from the car park given the high number of visitors, there is absolutely no excuse for this littering.”
A council spokesman said they are aware of the ongoing issues of dog fouling.
“Council has a dedicated enforcement team which regularly patrols the area in a bid to tackle the issue and to keep it clean and safe for those accessing the site,” he said.
“The team is authorised to issue Fixed Penalty Notices in relation to littering and dog fouling.
“Our teams also carry out monitoring of waste left in the area and have previously enquired if a further bin can be provided at the site to help address this problem. However, as there are multiple bins already in place, this is hard to justify.
“We strongly encourage those using Cairnwood to make use of the existing bins already in place. Our teams will also review the current litter picking regime at Cairnwood, to see if more regular checks can take place.”