Edinburgh has most complaints about dog mess in Scotland

Edinburgh has had the most complaints about dog mess in the country
Edinburgh has had the most complaints about dog mess in the country
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THE Capital receives more complaints about dog owners failing to clean up after their pets than anywhere else in the country.

The city council received 5761 complaints from residents over the last five years leading to 1008 fines being handed out.

In contrast, there were only 4000 complaints, and nearly 700 fines issued, in Glasgow.

It is thought that one of the reasons why Edinburgh tops the complaints table of local authority areas in Scotland is that residents in the Capital are quicker to contact the council to complain.

Across Scotland as a whole more than 6000 fines worth a total of £246,720 had been slapped on those responsible.

Carole Noble, head of operations at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Although we have recorded a reduction in overall levels of dog fouling on our streets in recent years, it still offends a significant number of people in public spaces used frequently by dog walkers.

“Approximately 1000 tonnes of dog poo is produced a day in the UK, and while the majority of owners are responsible and pick up after their dogs, a careless minority are still leaving the mess behind for others to step in. There’s no excuse.”

The city council urged the public to report dog walkers who failed to pick up the mess.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader, said: “Everyone knows that the majority of dog owners clean up afterwards. We would encourage people to let us know where there are problems so we can target our resources.”

West Lothian Council dished out 414 fines after receiving 3343 complaints, while Midlothian Council punished 69 dog walkers after 938 reports.

East Lothian Council, meanwhile, spent the most cash tackling the problem, splashing out £116,000 on signs and waste bins as it issued 98 fines after receiving 1162 complaints.

An East Lothian Council spokeswoman said: “In 2010, we launched Dogwatch, which took a new approach to tackling dog fouling by focusing on education and prevention as well as the clearing up.

“We have seen a reduction in the number of complaints since Dogwatch was launched. The campaign has involved various methods including posters and leaflets reminding members of the public of their duties.”

Dog fouling can increase the chances of humans being affected by toxocara canis, a disease which can cause asthma, extreme stomach pains and, in rare cases, blindness.

A recent survey by the Scottish Community Safety Network found that 69 per cent of Scots felt dog fouling offended them more than any other form of litter.

A spokesman for the charity Dogs Trust said: “Scotland’s dog population stands at somewhere around 1.2 million and though the vast majority are lucky enough to be owned by responsible people who pick up after them, a careless few are dodging their duties and giving dogs a bad name.

“Dogs Trust supports the efforts of Scottish local authorites to promote responsible dog ownership and crack down on the minority of dog owners who do not pick up their dog’s mess.”