County council secures its first dog fouling conviction
FINGAL COUNTY Council has secured its first court conviction relating to dog fouling.
A dog owner was successfully prosecuted before Swords District Court relating to an incident on a green area in a housing estate in Swords. Sarah Noone, of Mount Drinan Avenue in Swords, failed to appear before the court to answer the summons and was convicted and fined in her absence after Judge John Cheatle heard the evidence against her.
Ms Noone was initially issued with an on-the-spot fine after her dog was seen by a neighbour fouling on a green area where children were playing. However, the court heard the fine was not paid.
Witness Kerry Gibbs, of Kinsealy Downs, gave evidence that on May 5th she observed Ms Noone’s dog fouling on a green area in the estate where her children and other children from the estate play.
‘The poop wasn’t picked up,’ said Ms Gibbs, who was in her garden when she saw the dog fouling the area.
‘She (Ms Noone) wasn’t with the dog,’ Ms Gibbs added.
Ms Gibbs then told her children to move to another area of the green to play and she phoned Fingal County Council to lodge the complaint.
‘It’s an ongoing thing,’ she said, adding it has happened a couple of times a week.
Under the Litter Pollution Act, it is an offence for a person to allow a dog under their control to foul a public place. Owners can be issued with an on-the-spot fine of €150 or a maximum fine of €3,000 on conviction.
The responsibility of cleaning up after a pet is not restricted to simply putting the waste in a bag - it also includes taking it away and disposing of it in a sanitary way and not tying a knot in the bag and leaving it behind.
A solicitor for Fingal County Council said a Fixed Charge Penalty Notice or on the spot fine for €150 was issued to Ms Noone, who had then requested an appeal form but never returned it to the council. On hearing the evidence Judge John Cheatle convicted Ms Noone and handing down a fine, he said he will ‘leave it at €150.’
‘This may solve the problem without going too far,’ said Judge Cheatle.
He also ordered Ms Noone to pay Fingal County Council costs of €150 and fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.
‘This is the first successful court prosecution by Fingal County Council for this issue, which is an offence under Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act 2007-2009,’ Fingal County Council confirmed after the case.
Dog owners are obliged to clean up after their dogs.