Move to stop dogs from defecating in cemeteries

graveyardTHE problem of dogs ‘doing their business’ on the graves at cemeteries in Limerick city and county will soon be a thing of the past, if Limerick Fine Gael county councillor Leo Walsh has his way.

Claiming that Mount St Oliver Cemetery was “destroyed with dog foul”, Cllr Walsh told this month’s meeting of the council’s Environment Strategic Policy Committee that there was a serious problem with animals defecating on graves.

Calling for signs to be erected in graveyards throughout the city and county banning dogs from entering, he said that he had received complaints from undertakers, gravediggers and visitors to Mount St Oliver about dogs being allowed to ‘do their business’ on the graves.

“This is sacred ground and there’s dog foul everywhere. It’s a terrible nuisance and there should be signs up banning dogs from graveyards,” said Cllr Walsh.

“Gravediggers are very annoyed. When they’re picking up stones or a board, they find they are getting destroyed with dog foul. It’s a huge problem. I’ve seen greyhounds running around the place and after the child that was attacked by a dog last week, this just isn’t on.

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“A graveyard in Tipperary banned dogs and its been very successful. We could do something similar here,” Cllr Walsh suggested.

Agreeing that dogs should not be allowed in graveyards, his Fine Gael colleague Cllr Stephen Keary said that people kept their family plots in immaculate condition and it was deplorable that dogs were allowed foul all over them.

“Signs aren’t going to stop a dog from cocking his leg and doing what he has to do. They should be banned altogether,” said Cllr Keary.

Cllr Mike Donegan (FF) said he wouldn’t support a full ban but agreed that dogs should be kept on leads. Cllr Michael Collins (FF) suggested that it would “make sense” for dogs to kept on leads in public spaces and for their owners to carry pooper scoopers.

“Dog fouling would not be an issue if this was policed,” said Cllr Collins.

Director of services, Kieran Lehane said that, as a regular visitor to Mount St Oliver,he was surprised to hear of this problem. He claimed that he had never even seen a dog in the cemetery but promised to bring the issue up with the superintendent of graveyards and report back to council members.

Senior Executive Officer Christy O’Connor said that new graveyard bye-laws would be drawn up after the amalgamation of the two local authorities in May and that the issue of dog fouling would be looked at.