Comment: Naming and shaming has its place

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living in the Capital, we are lucky to have some of the finest parks in the world, as well as the beautiful Lothian coastline.

Enjoying these great outdoor spaces is one of the joys of life in and around Edinburgh, adding immeasurably to our quality of life.

Most people do this responsibly, but a small hard core who refuse to do the decent thing all too often end up spoiling it for the rest of us.

Everyone knows that heart-sinking feeling when you realise you have trodden in dog dirt, or, even worse, that your children or grandchildren have ended up covered in it.

Dog fouling is a serious and extensive problem right across the Lothians and knows no boundaries either of class or geography.

The problem is not as great as it once was. Social attitudes are changing and, thanks in part to a series of campaigns including the Evening News’ own Dish the Dirt, it is no longer seen as acceptable to fail to clean up after your pet.

Yet a minority of dog owners persist and seem immune to the changing tide of public opinion.

Trying to deal with them is a genuine problem. Everyone knows by now that leaving dog dirt on the streets or parks and verges is not only thoroughly unpleasant, but can also spread an infection that causes blindness. But the threat of fines now carries little weight because most people know there is little chance of being caught.

Something has to change to show that you cannot simply ignore the law on dog fouling. Naming and shaming is a blunt weapon, but it has its place in tackling stubborn offenders. Imagine the impact if just one dog owner appeared on the front page of the Evening News.

There are plenty of outwardly respectable dog owners who are part of the problem and would be mortified to be exposed in this way. It is time to give them something to worry about every time they leave their pet’s dirt in the places where our children play.