Dog owners face increased penalties for failure to bag it

Dog mess - even when owners bag it they don't always dispose of it properly
Dog mess – even when owners bag it they don’t always dispose of it properly

MORAY’S DOG OWNERS are being warned that failure to clear up after their pets can see them facing immediate fines of £80 – double the current level.

As from next Friday (April 1) the current £40 fine for anyone allowing their animal to foul in public places without it being cleared up the person in charge will be increased.

The fixed penalty has been raised after the environmental agency Keep Scotland Beautiful conducted a poll that resulted in 63% of those consulted agreeing that such a measure was required.

Community Safety minister Paul Wheelhouse said that he believed the fixed penalty would act “as a greater deterrent for people who do not take responsibility for their pets”.

He added: “Dog fouling is not only unpleasant, it can also pose potentially significant risks to health, particularly to children. We are clear that dog owners who do not clear up after their pets are breaking the law.”

The issue has been one that has taxed Moray Council for years, with many believing that not nearly enough is being done to catch those responsible for what is being seen as a growing problem in Moray.

Recently, Heldon & Laich councillor John Cowe raised the issue at a Council committee, reading out a letter he had received from a holidaymaker who was abused when asking a pet owner not to walk away and leave dog mess behind.

At the time Councillor Cowe told insideMoray: “It is getting out of hand, clearly, when visitors feel so moved to write to a local councillor and appeal for more action to be taken. How many visitors have arrived in Moray and had a fantastic time – only to suffer a similar experience to Mr Dewar’s and as a result perhaps never return?”

Councillor Cowe added that the new fines would help – but the situation was one that only pet owners themselves could solve by acting in a responsible manner.

That is a sentiment agree on by Keep Scotland Beautiful chief executive Derek Robertson, who said: “Increased fines form only part of the solution and that is why we have called for national leadership and a more strategic integrated and coordinated approach to conserve and improve Scotland’s local environmental quality.”