Residents on a housing estate on the outskirts of Belfast are highlighting the dog poo problem in the area – by spraying it orange.
Members of the Ballybeen Improvement Group in Dundonald have started a four-week program alongside Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council to encourage all dog owners to pick up after their pooch.
Andrew McCormick, community development officer for the Ballybeen Improvement Group, said not picking up your dog mess poses a serious risk to the health and wellbeing of children.
He added: “The issue of dog fouling is getting out of hand in Ballybeen and many residents are upset that it’s happening all over the estate.
“Over the next few weeks, people will see orange marks around the estate which aim to highlight the dog poo that has not been picked up.
“We will be picking about six streets a day and spray painting any dog ââfouling that we see on the ground. The enforcement officers will issue a ticket to those who are caught not picking it up.
DUP Cllr Sharon Skillen said: “We are trying to highlight to dog owners that they need to be responsible and pick up after their dog. This is a great initiative that has worked in other parts of the world to expose this irresponsibility and some of the health issues that it potentially raises for the likes of small children. ”
Back in June proposals to create a DNA database to sniff out those guilty of dog fouling were rejected by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.
The plans by the local authority would have seen dog poo forensically examined to locate the animal’s owner.
Dog fouling in the authority increased over the 12 months from 371 in 2019/20 to 404 for 2020/21.
The idea was rejected after it emerged it would cost Â£ 766,000 to create the database for the council and an additional Â£ 28,000 for operating costs.
The scheme would have been similar to that taken from those involved in criminal activity, with swabs taken to link the dog fouling back to owners who would then face a fine for failing to clean up the mess.
Currently councils in Northern Ireland can issue an offender with a Fix Penalty Notice of Â£ 80, which is reduced to Â£ 50 if paid within 14 days.