Earlier this year Newtownabbey Borough Council launched a new initiative, teaming up with local residents who want to stamp out dog fouling in their area. The Dog Watch Scheme has been up and running for 6 months and successful schemes have already been established in the Twinburn, Straid, Mayfield, Mount Pleasant, Ballynure and Ballyrobert areas.
The community based scheme has involved local volunteers actively patrolling their areas on the lookout for dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets. Wearing hi-visibility vests, the volunteers act as a visible deterrent to irresponsible dog owners as well as acting as advocates, offering out dog fouling bags in their areas. The volunteers are also a vital link between the Council and the community with the volunteers passing information about offences on to the Councils Enforcement Team allowing Council Officers to target their patrols more effectively.
The scheme is just one of the range of methods the Council is using to stamp out the issue of dog fouling on our streets. Increased patrols by Council Officers and regular cleaning by Council Cleansing all help to promote the message that dog fouling will not be tolerated. Along with the community presence the Council has placed signs in these areas highlighting that the scheme is in place and the area is being monitored.
One of the first areas to establish the Dog Watch scheme was Twinburn and a vast reduction in the amount of dog foul in the area is already visible. Frances Carson, Twinburn Neighbourhood Watch says “The scheme has been a huge success and has made big improvements in our area. We initially got involved because of the increase in the amount of fouling on our footpaths and I felt passionately that we needed to work together to sort out the issue of dog fouling locally. I’d encourage other communities in the Borough to get involved in Dog Watch – it really doesn’t take up that much of your time and the results are worth it.”
The scheme has been such a success that the Council is now looking to extend it further. Ryan Johnston, Senior Enforcement Officer says “Dog Watch has proved to be very successful. Not only have the areas taking part seen an improvement, but the communities are gaining a sense of ownership of their areas, and it’s also helping to strengthen the links between the Council and the community.
Such is the scheme’s success that we are now looking to extend it further. We would like to hear from voluntary groups, tenants and residents associations, or residents who just care about where they live, and urge them to get in touch with us so that they can set up their own Dog Watch initiative with the support of the Council.”
For further information on forming a Dog Watch Group in your area, contact the Environmental Health Department on 028 9034 0160 or email