MORAY TOURISM IS in danger of being harmed by inconsiderate and even belligerent dog owners who are not prepared to pick up dog mess deposited by their pets.
An issue that has blighted Moray’s popular beaches, countryside and parks is “getting out of hand” according to one local councillor, who this week received an email from a visitor who was left “depressed” by the number of dogs being allowed to run free and foul local beaches.
Councillor John Cowe received an email from a Kilmarnock-based photographer who visited Lossiemouth for the first time and hailed the scenery and surrounds “wonderful, the people are friendly and the food from the local chip shop is impressive”.
However, John Dewar’s stay in the Moray town was blighted by the sight of “dogs running free and fouling the beaches was pretty depressing”.
Mr Dewar wrote: “The sight of numerous bags of dog dirt scattered along the shore and among dunes on the East Beach, despite signs warning of fines, was very depressing.
“The beach is simply stunning, there is no other description, but I think it is a shame that irresponsible dog owners are blatantly allowing their pets to foul on such a stretch of natural beauty.”
Sadly, Mr Dewar discovered what many local residents have known for several years – attempts to tackle the issue directly can lead to unfortunate consequences, as he added: “I suffered a torrent of abuse from a woman with a little girl when I brought to her attention that her large dog had just messed the entrance to the footbridge!
“Sadly, this seemed to be the prevailing attitude. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Lossiemouth and hopefully the council will perhaps look into what is unfortunately a problem not just in Moray.”
Councillor Cowe told insideMoray: “We have been fighting this particular issue for so long now and it seems that for every step forward we take, there are several more in the other direction to traverse.
“The vast majority of dog owners are responsible, we know that – but there is, sadly, a minority who just do not think, who seem to believe that they are exempt, who will themselves praise the beauty of the environment we are all so fortunate to share – and yet turn a blind eye to their own animals and what they are dong to that environment.
“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?
“Perhaps it is time we looked at stronger penalties, stronger enforcement of these penalties. I am sure, however, that most of us would just rather those acting in this manner in the first place simply stopped to think of others and not just themselves.”