Level of dog fouling at Galway city black spots falls by half due to initiative

Volunteers sprayed dog excrement in pink paint to highlight issue following complaints

Galway City Council says the level of dog fouling in former black spots has fallen by more than 50 per cent after a trial which involved putting anti-excrement messages on the ground and dog waste being highlighted with spray paint.

The local authority’s “clean it up you dirty pup” initiative ran across three different areas of the city and was modelled on a scheme from Co Roscommon. This saw Ballintubber report a drop in dog fouling instances from 300 to zero over two months in 2019, according to freedom of information records.

The Galway trial initiative started early this summer, when the council began to spray paint stencil messages in areas where dog fouling was reported as a problem. Separately, volunteers in the areas sprayed dog excrement in fluorescent pink to highlight the issue as part of the three-month trial.

The areas chosen were Galway’s Westend, Hunter’s Park and Ballyloughane, where the council noted significant buy-in from local communities.


A council spokeswoman said it had seen “a 55 per cent reduction in dog fouling in the three trial areas”, which, she said, “highlights that collaboration with community groups to encourage responsible dog ownership can achieve results”.

The council said it had since expanded the initiative to Ballybane, Shantalla and Glenard Park in Salthill and that other local authorities had requested feedback in relation to the measures.


A business case for the scheme – released by the council – shows it received extensive complaints about dog fouling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“[These were] in respect of parks, beaches, housing estates and other local amenities, which affect the overall image of the city... it is also very unpleasant for citizens to encounter,” it said.

The council proposed a press and social media campaign to publicise the initiative, with staff spray painting the anti-dog-fouling message in the target areas.

A “baseline survey” of fouling levels took place before the trial and a chalk-based paint was be used to spray the excrement in an eco-friendly way.

The cost of the campaign was estimated at €20,000 between advertising, signs, providing dog waste bags, stencils and paints.

The council said the initiative could be rolled out annually and that it was consulting with colleagues in Leitrim about the DNA testing of dog waste in order to identify offenders.

Theresa McCabe, Roscommon County Council’s climate change and environmental awareness officer, said its green dog walkers programme had been operating for a number of years to tackle the problem of dog waste.

She said it was an “inconsiderate and irritating little problem” and that their scheme was a “non-confrontational, friendly way to change attitudes”.

“With this change of attitude, it is hoped for a general acceptance that dog owners must clean up after their dog fouls and, therefore, reduce the amount of litter in public areas.”