Sighthill and Gorgie top dog mess complaints list

Oriana Pavitt has to warn sons Roddy, four, and Lawson, two, to avoid dog dirt. Picture: Greg Macvean
Oriana Pavitt has to warn sons Roddy, four, and Lawson, two, to avoid dog dirt. Picture: Greg Macvean
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IT is the league that no-one wants to top. Today we can reveal Edinburgh’s hotspots for dog mess – with Sighthill and Gorgie ranking number one for complaints.

City council figures show almost 200 complaints have been made there over the past 12 months, which, by those statistics, make it the most messed-on ward in the Capital.

By contrast, Morningside is the place to go to avoid stepping in dirt, with just 39 complaints logged.

It’s probable that the complaints represent only a minority of incidents, and our Dish the Dirt campaign aimed at shopping lazy dog owners is sure to push the number up. The figures also illustrate the varying number of fines, showing the value of targeted intelligence.

Since we launched the drive with the city council last week, calls have been flooding into the new hotline – with a complaint being made on average every 15 minutes.

Readers have also been taking to our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds to offer their support to the bid to clean up Edinburgh’s streets.

The calls to the hotline number will allow council environmental wardens to zero in on problem areas.

Dennis Dixon, councillor for Sighthill and Gorgie, said he hoped the drive would eventually rid his ward of its unwanted title. He said the wardens already worked hard to catch the culprits – often going out early in the morning and late at night to target the offenders.

He said: “Whenever there is a community safety meeting it is top of the list.

“Dog poo comes up every single time in Gorgie and Sighthill, which is shocking really. Unfortunately we have a number of people who don’t seem to care about picking up after their animals, which is a shame.

“The environmental wardens work very hard to try and catch them, they’re often out as early as 6am to catch them in the act, and will come out as late as 11pm.

“Hopefully the Dish the Dirt campaign will help and we will have to keep at it.”

Betty Milton, chairwoman of Sighthill, Broomhouse and Parkhead community council, said she often finds piles of the muck at her gate.

She said: “It is absolutely horrendous. I always worry about the little kiddies getting it in their eyes but until owners start being like myself and lifting it, it’s going to remain problem.

“It’s a problem all over the country but it is particularly bad here. There are always complaints being made about dog poo.”

Other areas to score highly on the league of shame were Forth with 155 complaints, Drum Brae and Gyle with 141 and Liberton and Gilmerton, 137.

Oriana Pavitt, 37, said she noticed the extent of the problem when she lived in Gilmerton and since she has moved to Dalkeith. The mum-of-two boys, Roddy, four, and Lawson, two, said she was constantly having to shepherd them away from dog muck.

She said: “I lived in Gilmerton before and it was pretty bad, you could get it left on your doorstep.

“But just recently I have noticed it here more and more too. The pathway that leads to the main road here always has quite a lot of mess on it and it’s pretty hard to avoid when you have got kids and a buggy.

“I’m constantly having to tell Roddy to look out for poo, and watch where his feet are going or not to run on the grass. It’s ridiculous.

“I think people need to be a little more respectful and realise who is using the pathways. Picking up doesn’t take long to do and it costs about 80p to buy some nappy sacks.”

The huge public reaction has been welcomed by council bosses, who are keen to ramp up the pressure on those who spoil things for others.

Councillor Cammy Day, Community Safety Leader, said: “The response to the campaign has been fantastic, and I’ve been struck by how warmly people have welcomed the focus on this issue. We’ve had dozens of reports from members of the public and people have provided lots of information which will be extremely helpful to our wardens when they target their enforcement and patrols.

“Despite our constant, strategic work to tackle the issue citywide in response to public concerns, dog fouling is unfortunately still one of the main bugbears of many local areas.

“This high-profile campaign with the Evening News is an excellent way of boosting awareness of the problem and we are confident it will produce real results.

“The more people who get in touch to report issues, the better we can target our resources and drive home the message that not picking up after your dog is criminal.”

It’s your call to clamp down on problem

So how can you help?

• Call Buster on 0300 4563476 to Dish the Dirt on offenders. Basic details are fine but the more information that can be given in terms of times, location, vehicles used, descriptions of the dogs and/or owners responsible will help the council identify the culprits and take appropriate enforcement action.

• All reports will be treated as confidential but updates on action taken will only be possible if contact information is left in the message.

• Calls to 03 numbers cost no more than a standard national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and count towards any inclusive minutes on landline or mobiles.

• Help us promote the campaign by displaying a Dish the Dirt poster. To receive your free poster e-mail kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com.