West Dunbartonshire dog owners urged to clean up after their pets
Councillors Iain McLaren and Diane Docherty in Levengrove Park.
By Bruce Hill
Irresponsible dog owners who refuse to clean up after their pets are in the spotlight as part of the Council’s new hard-hitting campaign to tackle dog fouling.
While West Dunbartonshire’s dog lovers are overwhelmingly responsible people who pick up after their pets, there is still a small minority who leave the poo behind in places where children play. The new campaign ends to stamp out that “disgusting” behaviour and make our parks and greenspaces welcoming and safe for everyone.
The Council launched the highly successful Do The Right Thing campaign in 2012 and, as a result, the use of free poop scoop bags made available by the Council soared. To date, almost five million of the biodegradable bags have been provided through libraries, education centres and a wide range of other locations across West Dunbartonshire.
To find out where the bags are available, visit www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/dogfouling where incidents of dog fouling can also be reported.
The new campaign sets out to make it clear to those who do not clean up after their dogs that their behaviour is not acceptable and could even be putting people’s health at risk.
Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration & Economic Development, said: “It’s disappointing that we should even have to ask dog owners not to leave poo lying around, especially when we provide free poop scoop bags and hundreds of bins. It is a small number of dog owners who are flouting the law and we really want to convince them to do the right thing. Those responsible dog owners who do clean up the mess and who see others not doing so must get so frustrated by that. They can report such instances via our website and the Council will take action.”
Dog fouling is consistently raised by West Dunbartonshire residents as an area of concern, making it clear that the vast majority of people do the right thing and expect others to do the same. As well as generally ruining the look of an area, not picking up your dog’s poo is a crime and can also have an impact on the health of anyone who comes into contact with it. In extreme cases, dog poo can even cause blindness.
The Council’s message on dog fouling is clear. If you don’t clean up after your pet then you are breaking the law and could face an £80 fixed penalty, rising to £100 if not paid within 28 days.
Councillor Diane Docherty, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration & Economic Development, added: “I’m a dog owner and I love being out and about with my pet. However, I’ll never understand how anyone could simply walk away and leave their dog’s poo where it is, putting health at risk and ruining people’s enjoyment of our green spaces. Even worse if people who allow their dog’s to do the toilet on sports pitches where children and adults will almost certainly come into contact with it. We must change the mind-set of anyone who thinks that is acceptable behaviour.”
The campaign will see signs erected in hotspot areas and livery displayed on Council vehicles, while an increased presence of Litter Control Assistants will also help spread the message.