Dog fouling fines go unpaid

Pupils from Gordon Primary School make their feelings known about the recent spate of dogs fouling on their playground.
Pupils from Gordon Primary School make their feelings known about the recent spate of dogs fouling on their playground.

Scottish Borders Council has admitted that half of all dog-fouling fines issued under its responsible pet ownership pilot scheme went unpaid.

That led to the cost of the trial project, from June 2016 to May 2017 and outsourced to a South Yorkshire-based company, being far higher than expected.

In total, the 12-month pilot scheme cost £49,879 but generated just £3,800 in income.

In that time, just 19 fixed-penalty notices were issued for dog-fouling by 3GS, and only nine of those were paid directly. Two more were paid as fiscal fines via the procurator fiscal.

A report on the pilot scheme, due to be heard by Scottish Borders councillors this week, said: “The remaining fines went unpaid due to a number of varying factors including the incorrect serving of notices, offenders providing false personal information or third parties failing to provide information to meet prescribed timeframes.

“Some of the challenges encountered related to mobilisation and effectiveness of the external enforcement officers, who took time to become effectively engaged.

“Initiation and start-up took twice as long as programmed, which caused delays to enforcement actions and reporting.”

A council spokesperson said: “Payment of fixed-penalty notices for dog fouling can be difficult to complete due to a variety of factors.”

Following the pilot scheme, 3GS was hired to continue providing enforcement services, on a monthly basis, up until last month.