Dog fouling targeted in council initiative
In recent weeks East Lothian Council has received an increasing number of public complaints regarding dog fouling in its parks and open spaces. Of particular concern were reports relating to grass sports pitches and school grounds.
In response the council has just completed a 9 day period of intensive warden patrols. With some 20 officers now authorised to carry out enforcement of the Dog Fouling Scotland Act, early morning, evening and weekend patrols took place across the county with officers engaging with dog owners to remind them of their legal and moral responsibilities. Over 300 hours of staff time were spent on these patrols and they covered residential, school, sports grounds and countryside sites.
The staff, many of who gave up their leisure time to be involved, were generally encouraged by the positive response they encountered on their patrols with nearly everyone being observed as behaving responsibly and clearing up after their pet. Unfortunately for two East Lothian residents who were witnessed as failing to clean up, they have now been issued with £80 Fixed Penalty Notices.
Environment Spokesperson Councillor Hampshire said: “There is absolutely no excuse for dog owners failing to clean up after their pets. Dog fouling is a wholly avoidable problem in any area, but for dog owners failing to clear up on sites where their own family and friends will be taking part in school and recreational activities is astonishing.
“As well as being the law, failing to clean up fouling has potentially serious health risks to the whole community, particularly young children and council staff involved in maintaining our open spaces. It is encouraging though that the recent campaign has only resulted in the issue of two fines, proof that it is a very small minority of dog owners whose behaviour blights the quality of life for our residents and visitors.”
While ‘Brown April’ was a very specific and targeted campaign, authorised officers will always be alert to the problem and will issue fixed penalty notices to offenders. Any member of the public who witnesses a dog owner failing to clean up after their pet can report this in confidence to the council by phoning 01875 824305 or on line via DogWatch on the council website