Hundreds of complaints but only three fall foul of dog law

Failing to pick up after your dog is an offence
Failing to pick up after your dog is an offence

Only three fixed penalty notices have been issued for dog fouling despite 260 patrols being carried out in north east Fife since September.

And that’s a statistic that bears no relation to the scale of the problem, according to local councllors.

Dawn Jamieson of Fife’s safer communities team told north east Fife area committee that the law regarding dog fouling is framed in such a way that the offence actually has to be witnessed before action can be taken.

“Circumstantial evidence is not enough,” she said.

“Regular patrols are carried out in the north east Fife area – in fact there have been 260 since September.

“So it’s not that we’re not there, it’s just that we’re obviously not there at the right times.”

Councillor Tim Brett described as ‘disappointing’ the fact that only three fixed penalties had been issued but urged people to keep reporting the problem.

However Councillor Elizabeth Riches said that people had told her there was no point in reporting incidents as nothing seemed to be done.

“These figures bear no relation to the problem,” she said.

“It’s an even bigger problem during dark evenings and is always raised as a priority issue at community council meetings.”

Last year the penalty for allowing a dog to foul in a public place doubled from £40 to £80 to bring it in line with the fine for littering.

Across Fife, there are 34 people who can issue fixed penalties.

Known as safer communities officers , they undertake all the functions previously carried out by community wardens, environmental enforcement officers and the night time noise team.

A total of 499 complaints about dog fouling were receivedin the Kingdom in the last six months, 68 of them in north east Fife.

The first-ever person in north east Fife to receive a fine was from Newburgh.