I read with great interest, deep dismay but absolutely no surprise the recent Carrick Times (Thursday, February 6 2014) article on the plight of the Clarke family whose 14-year old son Cameron, a pupil of Downshire School, has been rendered blind in one eye due to contact with dog mess.
I very much welcome the fact that your article highlights the dangers posed by the anti-social behaviour of a small number of dog owners and would like to share our own experience of this problem. On a regular basis dogs are brought onto Carrickfergus Grammar School grounds, both on and off the leash. I have witnessed dog owners allowing their animal to defecate on areas where children play: my PE staff regularly face the disgusting task of clearing dog faeces from pitches and play areas; and on two occasions I have had to contact the PSNI and Carrickfergus Council to report aggressive behaviour by dogs which are allowed to roam freely amongst pupils by irresponsible owners.
I have also personally patrolled areas of the school in an attempt to catch dog owners in the act of leaving their dogs’ mess casually behind them for my staff and pupils to walk in, but as your article rightly points out it is extremely difficult to meet with success. I have a letter which I shall shortly be sending out to all parents, and I shall also be writing to the occupants of houses in streets which sit adjacent to the school to enlist their support by reporting owners whom they have seen put children’s health at risk by their selfish behaviour.