Clare County Council says it has recorded a significant reduction in dog fouling at two of County Clare’s main beaches in the weeks since erecting audio devices that encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets.
The mobile programmable audio systems, which were installed along the promenades at Kilkee and Lahinch in mid-July, periodically broadcast a message stating: “Respect the Banner and keep (Kilkee/Lahinch) clean. Bin your litter or take it home. Always pick up after your dog and enjoy your walk.”
“The devices have been installed since 16 July and early figures suggest that they are already helping to change people’s behaviour. There has been a 50% reduction in dog fouling in Kilkee, while incidences of dog fouling have more than halved in Lahinch,” explained Leas Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Tony O’Brien.
Cllr. O’Brien continued “There has been a very positive reaction from people hearing these devices. It is becoming socially unacceptable for people to litter or to leave dog foul on the footpath, and people want to lend their support to such devices. I am urging anyone who still continues to litter or leave dog foul to stop, or they will be open to a fine of up to €3,000. Dog fouling is both dangerous and unsightly as is litter”.
A survey undertaken by Clare County Council recorded 1008 dogs at Kilkee and 1472 dogs at Lahinch during just one week last month, highlighting the popularity of both locations for dog owners.
Figures also show that the peak time for dog walking at Kilkee is 3-5pm with an average of 15 dogs per hour. While in Lahinch, the peak dog walking time is 7-8pm with an average of 20 dogs per hour.
Clare County Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer, Joan Tarmey pointed out that the newly erected audio devices are also aimed at increasing litter awareness amongst the tens of thousands who visit the popular resorts every week. There were 24,421 visitors to Kilkee promende during 22-28 July, and 39,760 visitors to Lahinch promenade during the same period, with Saturdays being the busiest locations in both locations.
Ms. Tarmey commented: “We are very happy with the initial results following installation of the audio devices at both beaches. These devices are just one tool to assist us in getting people’s attention, and reminding them to keep our beaches, towns and other places litter-free. Both Kilkee and Lahinch are enjoying high visitor footfall, and it is great that these visitors are taking these messages on board.”
Meanwhile, dog owners have also welcomed the initiative.
Kilkee businessman Johnny Redmond who walks his two dachshunds along the promenade twice daily stated: “I am delighted to help launch these audio devices as anything that will help to reduce litter and dog fouling is good news for us all. I walk my dog twice a day every day of the year, and I wouldn’t dream of leaving it on the footpath for someone to tread on or worse still for an unsuspecting toddler to pick up! People just need to bring their litter home and clean up after their dog, it’s simple.”