How will dog scheme reduce complaints?

A voluntary dog registration scheme is being introduced by Fife Council.  Photographer-Ian Georgeson.
A voluntary dog registration scheme is being introduced by Fife Council. Photographer-Ian Georgeson.

A VOLUNTARY dog registration scheme is being introduced in response to a growing number of complaints.

But while the Council’s executive committee gave the scheme the go-ahead this week, some councillors have questioned whether it would have any impact.

Councillor Tim Brett, Liberal Democrat group leader, said: “How does this scheme help us reduce dog fouling? I’ve been a dog owner and I like dogs, but is spending money on this scheme really a high priority for us at this time?”

Councillor Dave Dempsey, Conservative group leader, agreed, saying irresponsible owners wouldn’t sign up.

He said: “This is going to cost £25,000 to set up and will be taking money out of the same budget which funds pot hole repairs. All we are going to get is a list of responsible dog owners. What’s the point of that?”

Dr Bob McLellan - head of the transportation and environmental service, which will run the scheme - said there were 5000 complaints about dogs each year, ranging from dogs being out of control, stray dogs, dog fouling and noise complaints associated with dogs barking.

The scheme will have its own website with the opportunity for the public to go online to make complaints about misbehaving dogs and irresponsible owners.

Dog owners will be encouraged to register their dogs free of charge through participating veterinary practices, which will offer reduced price microchipping for dogs, assisting with tracing strays.

Registered dog owners will also be supplied with promotional material identifying them with the scheme, such as hi-viz armbands, badges and dog collar tags.

Dr McLellan said: “It’s all about encouraging better dog ownership.”

Independent councillor Bryan Poole supported the introduction of the scheme, and hoped in time it could go even further, adding: “If we can evaluate the success of this scheme, it could be used to support efforts to introduce a compulsory scheme instead of a voluntary one. I believe we should have compulsory dog registration.”

Councillor Peter Grant, SNP group leader, also believed it was worth giving the scheme a try.

“I’d like to see it as a pilot for two or three years,” he said. “What aspect of dog complaints is it going to deal with? Strays, yes, but I’m not convinced strays are responsible for dog fouling problems.

“It might work, it might not, but nothing else to date has solved the problem. It’s at least worth giving it a go.”