By Joe Barrett
It is hoped that a designated park for dogs will be up and running in Portlaoise by this Summer.
The news was relayed to cllr Noel Tuohy who was attending his final Portlaoise Municipal District Council meeting before his retirement from the council due to health issues.
For the past six years cllr Toohey had lobbied council officials for such a park for dog walkers.
The good news was given to him by the council’s senior executive engineer Wes Wilkson at the January meeting.
He told cllr Tuohy that plans are currently being drawn up to locate the dog park in an area of the Triogue Linear Park in Portlaoise which he said, “would be a suitable green area where dogs owners can safely exercise their pets off the lead.”
Receiving the news cllr Tuohy quipped: “That’s great because I had promised my Dalmatian that he was going to meet a lot of new friends.”
He said: “I first raised this in 2017. There was also a group that collected 500 signatures and a petition for the provision of a dog park. I believe that there is a suitable area in the Linear Park for this.
“A dog park is a safe place to bring a pet and would be self-regulating. Dogs are a vital companion for a lot of people, particularly people living alone, or the elderly and it would be beneficial for a designated area where they could bring their pets. It would be great to see dog parks in other areas of the county also. I appreciate it will require a lot of work such as landscaping and seating, but I believe it can be done.”
“I think it’s a great idea. Dogs now are part of families. Noel will be remembered for a lot of things but especially for the area of refection (Covid) and the dog park,” said cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley.
Cllr Willie Aird said: “Noel has championed this as well as muzzling special breeds of dogs for a long time. I know people who look after their dogs very well, muzzle and everything. But the time has now come in this country that every dog should be microchipped, so that the dog can be traced back to its owner from the point of view of the danger they pose to to the public and to the danger other animals.”
He went on to describe in detail a recent dog attack on sheep.
“They were not killed. They were mauled. Half their heads were taken off. Eyes taken out. Then left with their heads bowed in the middle of a field. If that doesn’t bring home reasons for dogs to be microchipped, I don’t know what would.”
Cllr Tuohy said: “It’s crazy to see some people walking around with their dogs. I saw one fella with two Rottweilers. If they made a run there was nothing that he could do. He hadn’t a chance of holding them back. “
Cllr John Joe Fennelly also agreed that the muzzling and microchipping of dogs must be enforced.