Leith campaigners target owners in bid to stop dog fouling

Not on Leiths Watch campaign is backed by local councillor Lewis Ritche, MSP Ben Macpherson and community police officers. Picture: Neil Hanna
Not on Leiths Watch campaign is backed by local councillor Lewis Ritche, MSP Ben Macpherson and community police officers. Picture: Neil Hanna
17
Have your say

Community campaigners are targeting dog owners in a bid to clean up the streets of Leith.

Fed-up of dog fouling, residents, police officers and council workers joined forces yesterday to launch a new “poo spotting” initiative.

I am pleased to see Not on Leith’s Watch taking the initiative and highlighting the issue

Lesley Macinnes

As part of the Not on Leith’s Watch campaign, residents have helped identify 46 “poo hotspots” in Leith, where they hope to place dog waste bins.

The campaigners also want to raise awareness of the importance of bagging and binning dog mess. It comes as new figures reveal only one fine for dog fouling was issued by Edinburgh Council in the Leith area over the past 12 months.

Campaign co-ordinator Alison Whyte said: “People started talking about how sick they were of stepping over poo, stepping in poo, and dodging poo to get from point A to point B.

“I was angry and thought it was about time we all got together in Leith as a community to try and make a difference.

“People who use Leith Links appreciate the brand new bins we’ve got but we don’t feel we’ve got enough – we have to walk for five minutes holding poo in our hands, whereas before we could just drop in a nearby bin.”

The campaign has already identified Pitt Street, Balfour Street and Restalrig Road as the worst streets in Leith for dog dirt.

And Alison said working with the council will help target offenders.

“We are working with the council whose mantra is report, report, report. We need to get that message out so they get feedback and can action reports from the public.”

Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “We are committed to tackling the problem of dog fouling in Edinburgh and our environmental wardens routinely respond to complaints, targeting hotspot areas. However it’s not always possible to catch irresponsible dog owners in the act, which is necessary for handing out a fixed penalty notice.

“While fines are a useful deterrent we also focus on awareness-raising amongst residents and visitors, with our ongoing Our Edinburgh campaign aiming to encourage pride in local communities.

“It’s essential that the public help us to raise awareness, and also to focus our resources on problem areas, so I am pleased to see Not on Leith’s Watch taking the initiative and highlighting the issue.”

Leith councillor, Lewis Ritchie said “I am a dog owner myself and I think Edinburgh is a city of by and large responsible dog owners. It’s a very slim minority who are spoiling it for the rest of us.

“Initiatives like this are so important to promoting good behaviour and getting people together because I think the community is key to solving Leith’s dog fouling problem.

And Ben MacPherson, MSP backed the initiaitve. He said: “Many people have expressed their concerns to me about dog fouling issues in Leith. Most Leithers take great pride in their area and I encourage as many residents as possible to be part of this local initiative, to improve Leith’s streets and green spaces for everyone.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk