Ellon residents - take the lead on dog fouling

A NEW move is under way in Aberdeenshire in an attempt to tackle the nuisance of dog fouling.

Ellon residents are being asked to take the initiative to help tackle dog fouling in their area.

It is an issue that concerns people and Aberdeenshire Council is looking to gather information and find solutions that will help reduce the problem.

The aim of the current Aberdeenshire Viewpoint Citizens’ Panel survey is to gather residents’ views about dog fouling.

In particular in terms of how big an issue they feel it is in their area and what approaches they think the Council and others should adopt to deal with the issue.

Erika Skinner, who manages Viewpoint said “Every year we run a community safety survey and each year dog fouling features towards the top of the list of community safety issues that residents say they worry about most frequently.

“So, for this year’s community safety survey we thought we’d put a bit of focus on the issue to gather some more information that may help identify those solutions that would work best.”

Council officials have been active in promoting projects throughout the area in an effort to tackle the problem and are aware of concerns.

According to Mark Mitchell, the Community Planning Officer for Formartine, dog fouling has often been the topic of conversation at community council meetings and community planning events across the area.

“In the past Community Planning has promoted responsible dog owner pilot projects, such as issuing free dog waste bags to communities, in an effort to encourage dog owners to pick up after their pet.

A Clean Dog Walking Scheme has been piloted in the Udny area, where dog walkers are asked to sign up to be a considerate and responsible walker by picking up after the dog has fouled and to offer where appropriate a dog waste bag to other walkers.

The scheme is designed to be non confrontational and by walkers wearing a marker identifying them as a scheme member, others are expected to follow suit.

It is run locally by a community group or organisation and best results have come from areas where the community take the lead in developing and promoting the project.

David Cooper, Aberdeenshire Council’s Environmental Health Manager, said

“The Council has a role to provide clear information to the community about the responsibilities of dog owners, including the correct way to dispose of dog waste. Our dog wardens are available to provide information to the public.

“We want to encourage all dog owners to act responsibly and we also want the community to report irresponsible dog owners to the Council if they see them failing to pick up after their dog.

“We do have fines that we can impose, but unless people report irresponsible dog owners to us and do so with the correct information, there is very little we can do to administer those fines.”

If you’d like have your say on issues affecting Aberdeenshire, apply to join the Viewpoint Citizens’ Panel, visit www.ouraberdeenshire.org.uk/panel or phone Erika on 01224 665286.