Edinburgh Council issued 67 fines for dog fouling

The Scottish Government doubled fines at the beginning of this year
The Scottish Government doubled fines at the beginning of this year
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Just 67 fines were issued in Edinburgh to people allowing their dogs to foul city streets last year - despite more than 1,500 complaints made by members of the public.

The figures, released by Direct Line, found that £4,020 was generated by Edinburgh City Council in fines - around a quarter of the amount made in 2013.

Meanwhile, the study found that Scotland has issued more fines for dog fouling in a year than any other part of the UK.

A total of 863 fines were issued from 12,906 complaints made to local authorities north of the border in 2015, generating £28,860 in fines. In contrast, London, which has a bigger population than Scotland, issued just 160 fines.

More pet owners were fined in Dumfries and Galloway than anywhere else in Scotland with 150 people reprimanded for failing to pick up after their dog. Edinburgh, however, received by far the most complaints at 1,567, yet acted on only 67 of them.

A total of 29 local authorities in Scotland replied to Direct Line’s requests for data - with only Dundee City Council, Inverclyde Council and Moray Council unable to provide the information.

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line said: “Dog excrement left on our streets and in parks poses a serious public health hazard. While it is good that owners have become more conscientious when clearing up after their dogs, there are far too many incidents when peoples’ health is being put at risk as animal faeces is left in public places.”

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government doubled the maximum fine for dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets from £40 to £80. The Dog Fouling (Fixed Penalty) (Scotland) Order 2016 took effect on 1 April 2016.

Experts warned that children can be at risk of losing their sight if they come into contact with soil infected with dog faeces.

Henry Leonard, clinical and regulatory officer at The Association of Optometrists, said: “It’s important to recognise that not picking up after pets can indeed have wider consequences for public health. There is a risk to the sight, particularly in children, from an infection called toxocariasis which is caused by a parasite present in animal faeces, predominantly dogs.

“The risk comes from the eggs of the parasitic worm, Toxocara Canis, when they are ingested rather than necessarily getting some in the eye. This can either be from direct contact with faeces or more frequently from contaminated soil.

Compared to Scotland’s 863 fines, the North West of England was ranked next highest with 698 fines. Meanwhile, Yorkshire and the Humberside with 623 completed the top three regions for number of fines handed out. The South West with 178, London with 160 and the East of England with 110 handed out the fewest number of fines for dog fouling offences in 2015.