Fife councillor wants to ‘name and shame’ irresponsible dog owners

While most owners are responsible and pick up after their dogs, those who don't could end up being publicly named and shamed.
While most owners are responsible and pick up after their dogs, those who don't could end up being publicly named and shamed.

A Fife councillor is exploring the possibility of publicly ‘naming and shaming’ irresponsible dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets.

Councillor Pat Callaghan, executive spokesman for environment, believes more needs to be done to tackle the issue of dog fouling.

Councillor Pat Callaghan wants to name and shame owners who don't pick up after their pets.

Councillor Pat Callaghan wants to name and shame owners who don't pick up after their pets.

He doesn’t believe the current financial penalty is a big enough deterrent.

Cllr Callaghan said: “We have a big issue in Fife with people not being in control of their pets.

“There’s no excuse for not picking up after your dog.

“I’m currently talking to our legal people about the possibility of naming and shaming irresponsible owners.

“The current £40 fine simply isn’t enough.”

Cllr Callaghan spoke out at Thursday’s full council meeting after the issue was raised by Cllr Joe Rosiejak, who wanted to know how many fines had been issued in the last four years.

Cllr Callaghan said 60 penalty notices had been issued in 2012, 41 in 2013, 43 in 2014 and 32 in 2015.

He explained the “spike” in 2012 was due to four additional staff being employed on a temporary basis.

And he pointed out an additional 22 council staff will soon be able to issue penalty notices, joining the 12 who currently have the powers to do so.

Cllr Rosiejak said he would welcome a tougher stance against irresponsible owners.

He added: “People involved with youth organisations are always having to check areas and clean up before allowing children to take part in activities.

“It’s totally and utterly unacceptable that kids can’t go out on a football pitch, in a park or a grassy field without having to deal with irresponsible owners.”

The issue of dog fouling, as well as littering, has also been raised in the Scottish Parliament by Fife MSP Alex Rowley, who has called for a review of the Scottish Government’s national strategy which he said “does not seem to be working”.

Mr Rowley said: “Whilst the majority of people are responsible, clean up at the back of their dogs and do not drop litter, it is still a major problem.

“A housing estate being full of litter and dog fouling impacts on the environment where people live, and can also impact on the health and wellbeing of residents.”

He added that education was important and more needed to be done from school age upwards, and he also called for tough penalties.

Richard Lochhead, Scottish Government cabinet secretary for the environment, said the national strategy had only been in place for 18 months, which was not a long time to properly evaluate its success or otherwise.

Mr Lochhead also pointed out that the Government had committed more than £575,000 towards Keep Scotland Beautiful’s clean-up campaign since 2013.