Lockdown puppy boom could triger rising number of dogs abandoned in Fife
Rates of dog fouling and puppy abandonment could rise across Fife this year thanks to record levels of pooch adoption during lockdown.
Council community officers in Dunfermline say they've received fewer complaints about stray dogs and pup mess in the last 12 months than in previous years past - but expect this downward trend to flip between now and the end of the recording period next March.
Dawn Jamieson, safer communities manager at Fife Council, said: "We are aware that many members of the public have bought puppies over this period so [abandonment] is something we are aware of and something we'd be trying to target in the future.
"We could certainly look at trying to run some campaigns to raise awareness. It's something that is very much on our radar."
Between April 2020 and March this year, ten stray dogs were reported to community wardens - three of which were passed to an animal charity after their original owners could not be traced.
Cllr Derek Glen, an SNP Dunfermline Central representative, is among those to have welcomed a four-legged friend into their household during lockdown.
"One of the things that has been popularly reported over the course of the pandemic is the significant rise in dog ownership," he told the Dunfermline area committee.
"[That includes] people who are less experienced dog owners - myself included.”He added: “There may be people who are less capable of looking after their dogs, or may decide they're more trouble than they were letting themselves in for."
Reports fell year-on year of stray dogs, dog fouling, informal warnings given to owners of troublesome pups and formal dog control notices - the latter of which can see owners fined and even banned from owning dogs.
Local police chiefs say they are not aware of any dognappers operating in the area despite suggestions that thefts of puppies were on the rise nationwide.
Police Scotland Community Inspector Jill Moss said: "There was one attempt at stealing a dog that was pretty widely publicised, but apart from that it's more of an issue for us with fraud - people seeing dogs advertised for sale, paying money and the dogs not being delivered."