Dishing the dirt on lazy dog owners

Community groups want action on dog fouling in Buckhaven

Community groups want action on dog fouling in Buckhaven

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An environmental group in Buckhaven says its efforts to clean up the town are being hampered by persistent dog fouling.

And volunteers with CLEAR Buckhaven say the problem has been getting progressively worse over recent months.

We’ve just invested in two relatively expensive pooper scoopers to use when we go out, but it seems to be a losing battle.

Dr Allen Armstrong

Dr Allen Armstrong, secretary, revealed the main hotspots were within the NessBraes, Tollpark and Viewforth park areas, main pedestrian streets such as College Street, Randolph Street and Victoria Road and, worryingly, on a well-used path behind Buckhaven Primary School.

He added: “Along the coastal path, we’re also regularly picking up bags of dog waste neatly discarded in plastic bags.

“We know from our own experience it’s very hard to catch dogs andowners in the act.

“We’ve just invested in two relatively expensive pooper scoopers to use when we go out, but it seems to be a losing battle.”

Fife Council is hoping it can tackle the problem after re-assigning two environmental enforcement officers to the Levenmouth area, but accepts it is difficult to catch people in the act.

Dawn Jamieson, of environmental enforcement, said: “It can be very difficult when trying to issue fixed penalty notices under the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003, as the team can spend hours in one location and they may not catch anyone, leave, and then someone could come along and commit an offence.”

Dawn explained that, unless there’s beyond-doubt proof, it can be hard to fine someone. “The law requires us either to have a signed witness statement from a person advising they have seen the dog foul and the owner failed to clean it up, or we would have to see it for ourselves – circumstantial evidence is not enough. It has to be 100 per cent definite that the offence happened.”

If you don’t pick up your dog’s poo, you’ll have to pay at least £40 - that’s the price of 2000 poo bags on Amazon! This could rise to £60 if not paid, and a maximum fine of £500.

Dawn added: “People often perceive that there are a lack of dog bins in areas to dispose of their bags and do not realise they can dispose of their bags in any litter bin at all.”

Fife Council reminded locals of its ‘Wanted’ campaign, which urges people who have information on a repeat offender of dog fouling to call 08451 55 00 22.