Concerted attempt to tackle dog fouling issue

AN ACTION plan has been drawn up by Angus Council to tackle one of the most complained about problems in the county - dog fouling.

More than 500 complaints about dog fouling issues and 680 requests for clean-ups were lodged with the authority during 2011/12 with Montrose the second most vocal burgh, lodging 105 complaints and 136 requests for clean-ups in problem areas.

At Thursday’s neighbourhood services committee meeting, councillors will consider a plan drawn up by the council’s senior staff to try to co-ordinate departments with different areas of responsibility to present a more cohesive approach.

In his report Alan McKeown, strategic director of communities, said that there is currently no dedicated department, division or service within the council to deal with all aspects of dog fouling.

He said: “Rather, it is a composite process with different sections of the council having responsibility for different functions. In the past, all have worked independently within their own area of responsibility, with little or no joined up working.”

Currently, clean-ups are dealt with by different staff and departments depending on where fouling occurs; the waste management sections deals with bin emptying and street and park clean-ups, while environmental management deals with fouling when grass cutting and park maintenance is being carried out, and local community housing teams are responsible for initiating clean-ups within council housing estates and properties.

Complaints are relayed to the community warden service and enforcement falls to community wardens, the county’s dog warden, parks supervisors, environmental management officers and police who can all issue fixed penalty fines.

Mr McKeown continued: “A meeting was held between senior staff to examine each department’s function with regard to tackling dog fouling. From this meeting, an action plan has been developed which will be taken forward collectively and collaboratively.”

The plan includes allowing parks staff, countryside rangers, environmental and consumer protection staff and housing officers to issue fixed penalty notices and examining the use of Breach of Tenancy for repeat offenders.

There are also proposals to work more closely with the community to tackle dog fouling regarding dog bins, the provision of signage and developing a programme promoting responsible dog ownership.

Discussions will also be held with the Procurator Fiscal service to develop how cases should be reported to the Crown for further action.