Dog mess disgrace

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A Lisburn mother has called for action after her young daughter ended up covered in dog mess after falling while out for a walk on the Lagan towpath.

Heather McCracken is now urging dog walkers to clean up after their pets and is asking local government agencies to install more dog waste bins along the length of the path.

“I have a lab collie cross and I regularly walk it along the towpath with my three daughters, including the baby who is in a buggy,” said Heather.

“I had never really noticed the state of the path until my daughter fell and got covered in dog mess that had been left lying in the middle of the path. Then when I looked around I was disgusted at what I saw. Not only was there mess lying everywhere, but people had even used black bags and instead of carrying them home, they had thrown them into the bushes or even hung them from the trees. It is a disgrace.”

There is confusion over which body is responsible for the provision of doggie bins.

Lisburn City Council suggested the responsibility lay with the Department of Regional Development or the Rivers Agency, the DRD suggesting Lagan Valley Regional Park, who in turn said the towpath was owned by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure.

“No-one seems to care,” she continued. “I take bags with me and carry them home again but some people don’t seem to bother. At least if there were more bins I would like to think it would encourage people to clean up after their dogs.”

Lisburn Councillor, Alexander Redpath, who has been campaigning for additional bins on the towpath, said he would continue to work with the relevant agencies to increase provision.

“Since my election I have been actively campaigning for proper bin provision for dog owners. New general waste bins have been secured in Culcavy and Lisburn. One such bin serves the Lagan towpath at the Wallace car park. I think it’s important that we encourage all dog owners to dispose of their waste appropriately by providing suitable facilities.

“I understand that the section of the Lagan towpath in question is controlled by Lagan Valley Regional Park. I am available to help if efforts are made to lobby the regional park about supplying a bin at this site.”

A spokesperson for Lagan Valley Regional Park confirmed their wardens patrol the length of the towpath twice a week, collecting rubbish, which amounts to some 400 bags a year. “They have to clean up the dog mess and collect bags from the trees,” he said. “It is a very unpleasant job.”