The council has moved to tackle the problem of overflowing dog waste bins after an owner accused it of being “dog unfriendly.”
The action came as Larne dog owner Shelley Wallace said a failure to regularly empty bins, such as those on the promenade, was making it harder for dog owners to obey the local authority’s laws.
We cannot crack down on the widespread dog fouling if we are not playing our part and providing facilities for responsible dog owners.Councillor Mark McKinty
She described the issue as a “recurring problem” in Larne.
“I reported it to council last year and was assured that the bins would be emptied more regularly but it has happened again,” Shelley stated.
“It doesn’t look good for the town. They have spend a lot of money doing up the town centre but people are going for walks near foul-smelling bins. This is a widespread problem in Larne. Dog owners are picking up after dogs but have to carry bags home. It’s not hygienic and I would be concerned about children’s health.”
Shelley feels dog owners are not receiving support from the council.
“Larne is not very dog and dog-owner friendly,” she continued.
“We are restricted on where we can walk dogs. Most owners pick up after their dogs but the council is making it difficult to comply with its own legislation.”
In an email to the council’s Head of Environmental Services Philip Thompson, UUP Cllr McKinty warned that the issue creates a bad impression of the town for tourists and locals.
“I’ve been told on a number of occasions this is being sorted, that there are patrols of bins being done yet this example was obviously like this over the weekend and dear knows for how long,” he stated.
“We cannot crack down on the widespread dog fouling (another ongoing issue) if we are not playing our part and providing facilities for responsible dog owners.
“We cannot push the tourism strategy, promote this Borough, and seriously have the strap lines ‘Realising our potential’ and ‘Working together to create a better future for all’ if we cannot fulfil the basic task of emptying bins on a regular basis.”
Referring to previous emails which he had sent to Mr Thompson in January, Cllr McKinty continued: “If this were a one off or an irregular occurrence it would be understandable.
“In the past I have been told in person that the issue would be dealt with and that the bins were on a route to be checked and emptied.
“And I’ve raised this going back to Larne Council yet no solution.
“Something somewhere is broken and needs to be fixed.
“It will be an indictment of M&EA Borough Council if this is not sorted,” he concluded.
Concerned locals also took to social media to voice their frustration at the lack of dog foul bin emptying.
Gavin Ferguson stated: “For a route that is obviously very busy why don’t the council put out a couple more bins? Bins with more volume than the current bins.”
Bill Guiller pointed out that if he had not lifted his dog’s mess he could have been fined, “yet council can leave this mess and no penalty.”
David McMaster stated: “I observed this last year whilst on holiday in Larne. What is the point in placing bins throughout the community if no one takes the time to empty these containers?”
Amy Glass asked: “You want us to lift up after our dogs well where would you like us to put it?”
A council spokesperson said bins in the Larne area are checked three times a week but had been “missed” on Monday May 23.
“Bins have now all been emptied,” he stated.
“Some dog waste bins have previously been replaced with larger bins in particular problem areas.
“Council has already (in last days) replaced one particular one with a larger bin in the area of concern at Chaine Park promenade.
“Bins in the general Larne area are checked and emptied twice a week, and in some areas daily.
“There are currently two litter wardens in the Larne area. No plans to increase.”
To report overflowing bins, call Larne depot on 028 28262428.