THE problem of dog fouling in our streets and parks appears intractable. Despite numerous initiatives, all well-meaning, there are a hard core of repeat offenders who refuse to adhere to basic decency and common sense. The rest of us end up with it on our shoes.
The latest plan from Edinburgh City Council is to increase the number of environmental wardens at peak dog-walking times (early in the morning and in the evening) to catch offenders in the act.
This follows the use of CCTV to gain evidence against miscreants plus a call to use DNA-testing to catch culprits. Barking and Dagenham Council in London recently revealed it would become the first UK local authority to use DNA testing as an enforcement method.
But surely one of the underlying problems is that the fines handed out need to be higher, much higher. Anyone caught in this latest crackdown – which will be expensive to fund – will be fined just £40. To put this in context, if you park your car legally in Edinburgh, spend several pounds buying a ticket, and then are five minutes late on return you are almost guaranteed a ticket and a minimum fine of £30, such is the level of monitoring.
Do we really think law-abiding motorists who are delayed by a tiny amount should be hit with a similar fine to those who recklessly and carelessly, day-after-day, treat our streets like a dustbin?
Imagine what would happen if city council leader Andrew Burns said dog foulers would from now on be fined £1000? Would this lose him votes? Would Labour suffer in the polls? No. The 99 per cent of us who rage against the Crap Brigade would support it and cheer him to the rafters.
Society abhors this behaviour, which is not only digusting and unhygienic but dangerous too. Our councillors at the City Chambers need to take a tough stand.
There can surely be few left who don’t realise this is wrong. They are simply ignoring the rules because they know how unlikely they are to be caught.
So, if we do catch them, let’s throw the whole book at them.