Derry cemetery fouling: Council installs more dog bins

Dog foul bin
Image caption Derry City and Strabane District Council said it will review the location of the additional bins at the City Cemetery

More bins and signs aimed at pet owners have been installed at a Londonderry cemetery following complaints animals have been fouling on graves.

Derry City and Strabane District Council is also asking people to help identify owners who fail to clean up after their pets in the City Cemetery.

Owners can be fined £80 for failing to clean up after their dog.

Council staff are now monitoring the cemetery, the council said.

Anne-Marie Watkins said she has raised concerns to council after twice discovering dog foul on her infant daughter's grave.

Image caption Anne-Marie Watkins said dog owners must act more responsibly

"It is hard enough to leave your baby here without the added stress of this," she told The Mark Patterson Show.

"It makes me so angry, This is not stray dogs, this is where owners have left them off the lead and let them run around people's final resting places."

Gary O'Neil told the BBC he has witnessed pet owners "use the cemetery grounds and graves as a play area for dogs".

"They are playing ball games, fetch over the graves, I've seen dogs with parts of flowers in their mouths.

"It is quite upsetting, especially for people dealing with loss."

A council spokeswoman said council staff regularly monitor the city cemetery "with regard to dog fouling and advise owners of their responsibilities".

"Council has installed additional dog fouling bins and dog fouling signage within the cemetery. The location of bins and signage is reviewed regularly to ensure problem areas are sufficiently covered," she said.

In 2018, Derry City and Strabane District Council defended its record on dog fouling after issuing just 22 fines despite receiving more than 5,000 complaints.

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