Council’s efforts to tackle dog fouling

Most dog owners act responsibly in clearing up after their pets. It is the irresponsible ones that need to be targeted.
Most dog owners act responsibly in clearing up after their pets. It is the irresponsible ones that need to be targeted.

The results of a pilot project set up in May 2016 to tackle the region’s dog fouling problem will be presented to councillors “in the near future”.

The one-year enforcement initiative saw Scottish Borders Council commission private firm GLS to issue £80 fines to offending dog owners after the council withdrew its nine-strong community warden service in 2013.

Dog fouling – the number one source of complaint from members of the public to their ward councillors – was raised at the last full council meeting by Councillor Kris Chapman, who asked: “How much taxpayers’ money is being used to clean up after dog fouling?”

“What action is being taken by this council to identify and prosecute the small number of irresponsible dog owners who regularly ignore the rules? What action is being taken by the council to promote responsible dog ownership?”

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, executive member for neighbourhoods and localities, replied that the council’s street cleaning budget was currently £1.4m a year.

“Contained within this budget are the costs incurred for the cleaning of dog fouling,” he said. “The ledger does not separately record the costs associated with this activity.

“A report on the pilot, including recommendations for next steps, will be brought to the council in the near future.

“Elected members will understand that a balanced approach to the scourge of dog fouling is required, whereby individuals take personal responsibility for their actions, while enabling responsible dog owners, who are the vast majority, to support the council in its efforts.

“Consideration always needs to be given to how best we spend our budget and I am happy to meet with any community which wants to get involved.”