A dog fouling campaign not to be poo-poo-ed

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A professional dog walker from Kinross is hoping to cry foul on dog dirt for once and for all by launching a campaign that takes a friendly approach towards irresponsible owners.

Lindsay Robertson of 4Paws - who regularly walks up to nine dogs at a time - is asking fellow dog walkers in Kinross-shire to sign up to the Green Dog Walkers campaign, a non-confrontational approach to encouraging people to pick up after their pets.

The initiative was launched in 2008 and runs successfully throughout the UK.

Participants wear a green armband - or their dog wears a green collar - to show they have taken a pledge to always clean up after their dogs, and they carry extra poo bags to offer to those without.

Lindsay already has the support of Scottish Natural Heritage and local schools and is now working with Perth and Kinross Council to formally set up the scheme.

The local authority is one of several throughout Scotland - including Fife - that is licensed to operate the scheme but it has never really taken off in either area to any great extent.

Now Lindsay is urging people to turn their complaints about dog fouling into action.

“I see posts on Facebook almost daily about people not picking up after their pets,” she said.

“With the darker nights it’s going to become even more of a problem so instead of just complaining about it I decided it was time to actually do something positive.

“I flagged up the idea on Facebook and got a great response, with 48 people signed up already.

“I aim to get about 200 people in Kinross-shire to sign up and hope that people in north east Fife will also follow our example and get on board with it.

“If I can pick up after nine dogs there’s no reason why other people can’t pick up after one.

“It’s a question of changing attitudes and rather than confronting the irresponsible owner, Green Dog Walkers offer them a spare bag.”

Local authorities licensed to run the scheme usually supply badges, posters, leaflets, poo bags and other items needed to optimise its success.

It’s been particularly successful in Falkirk, which now has more than 1000 Green Dog Walkers.

A spokesperson for Fife Council said that at present there was no-one in the Kingdom to manage the scheme but encouraged people to follow Lindsay’s example and sign up.

Damien Woods, service manager for parks, streets and open spaces, said: “Our parks and open spaces should be safe places for everyone to enjoy without fear of stepping in dog mess.”

Anyone caught not clearing up after their dog will be given a £40 fine. The Council can serve fixed penalty notices based on the evidence provided by a reliable witness. Even if a witness is not willing to come forward with a statement, information that helps to identify an offender and the best time to catch them walking their dog is useful. If you’ve witnessed dog fouling or are aware of dog fouling hot spots anywhere in Fife, report it by phoning 03451 55 00 22 or in Kinross-shire phone 01738 476476. For more information about the Green Dog Walkers scheme, visit www.greendogwalkers.org.uk