Concern over low number of dog fouling fines

Responsible owners clear up after their pets but some areas of the Capital are blighted by dog dirt. Picture: TSPL

Responsible owners clear up after their pets but some areas of the Capital are blighted by dog dirt. Picture: TSPL

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FEWER than three fines per week are dished out to dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets – despite city chiefs insisting that dog fouling is a “high priority”.

Just 131 dog fouling fines were handed out across Edinburgh over a year, with only one penalty notice served in the city centre.

Two tickets were handed out in Leith – an area consistently ranked among the Capital’s dirtiest – between November last year and October this year.

The figures, which were revealed in a Freedom of Information request, painted a similar picture across the city, with the Colinton/Fairmilehead, Drumbrae/Gyle, Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart and Meadows/Morningside wards only receiving one fine each.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader, insisted that dog fouling remained a “high priority” though it was not always possible to catch irresponsible dog owners “in the act”.

Chas Booth, the Green councillor for Leith, described the results as “disappointing”.

He said: “Dog fouling is a serious issue for many constituents, in particular for those with young children and I have passed on many complaints to officers so I am disappointed there have only been two tickets issued in Leith.

“We must get better at tackling this antisocial problem. Penalty notices are not a silver bullet but they are an essential part of the solution.”

A spokesman for campaign group Greener Leith said the figures suggested the problem was not being properly addressed by the city council.

He said: “It is especially baffling that enforcement action is so low in the Leith area. The previous year just five were issued and it looks like the council is on track to under-shoot again, beating their previous record of non-enforcement.”

Dog walkers face a fine of £40 for not cleaning up after their pets, which rises to £60 if not paid within 28 days.

Last year the Evening News joined forces with the city council to launch the Dish the Dirt campaign to catch more dog owners after complaints about dog fouling began to rise.

Between 2007 and 2012, the city council issued 1008 fines to dog owners.

Cllr Hinds urged people to report dog fouling online on the city council’s website.

She said: “It is not only unsightly but can cause a real health and safety risk.”

john.connell@edinburghnews.com