‘No more messing,’ say councillors after constituents’ dog fouling complaints

TWO local councillors have called for action against irresponsible dog owners, after a spate of constituents’ complaints.

Cllrs Rob Merson and Allan Hendry issued a joint call on Tuesday for more action to be taken against offenders. Cllr Hendry told the Times that he hoped to see more training for council staff other than dog wardens, so that more fixed £40 penalty notices could be issued.

He said: “Failing to clean up dog faeces is an offence, but my understanding is that less than 50 notices have been issued in Aberdeenshire so far. Part of the reason for that is that we have too few dog wardens, and that is why I have repeatedly called for training to be given to other Council officers so that they, too, can issue penalty notices.”

Cllr Merson added: “I am particularly disappointed to receive complaints of dog owners ‘exercising’ their dogs in children’s play areas and school playgrounds. Quite apart from the disgusting mess which it makes, it creates a serious health risk. Many people apparently remain ignorant of the fact that dog mess can spread a parasite worm, toxicana canis, which can cause blindness in children.

“This may be an unsavoury issue, but it is one which fills the in-tray of every councillor in Aberdeenshire – when it ought to be filling dog waste bins which are fit for purpose. That is why, in seeking to encourage responsibility among dog owners, it has been of concern that many of the dog bins which were installed in the area are now corroded with age. The combination of dog faeces and sharp edges of rusted metal is not a happy one, and I am delighted that funding for their replacement has now been identified by the Formartine Area Manager.”

Cllr. Hendry concluded: “This has been a recurring problem for far too long, and the patience of the public, and the elected members, is wearing thin. We need to take robust action - I would urge anyone who witnesses such an event, and can identify the offender to contact Animal Welfare on 08456 08 12 07.”