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Changes to dog fouling fines

Published: 23 Mar 2016 10:30
Part of:
Law and order

Double penalty for irresponsible owners.

Dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets will face a fine of £80 from 1 April – double the current fixed penalty rate.

The change, supported by the majority of responses to a Scottish Government consultation on dog ownership, brings the penalty for dog fouling in line with the fine for littering.

Nearly a third of people said animal nuisance, including dog fouling or animal noise, was a very or fairly common problem in the Scottish Household Surveys of 2014 and 2013.

As well as increasing the fixed penalty, the Scottish Government is also working with local authorities to consider how more unpaid penalties can be collected.

Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

"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.

"We believe the increased penalty will act as a greater deterrent for people who do not take responsibility for their pets.

"This is an issue that many people feel strongly about and affects all too many communities. Not only are we increasing the penalty but we are also working with local authorities to look at ways to make sure that fines are properly collected from those who have chosen to break the law."

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said:

"Dog fouling is at its highest level in a decade in our streets and open spaces, so we welcome the doubling of the fixed penalty notice for dog fouling, a measure supported by 63% of people asked in a YouGov Poll commissioned by Keep Scotland Beautiful in August 2015.

"Increasing the fine to £80 is a positive step in the right direction and will send a clear message to irresponsible dog owners that their actions have a negative impact on people and our communities. However, 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."

Notes to editors

Current exemptions will continue to apply. These apply to blind persons in charge of their guide dog and disabled people with physical impairments which affect their ability to lift or carry everyday objects when in charge of their assistance dog.

The public consultation on promoting responsible dog ownership was carried out between 2013 and 2014. More than two-thirds of respondents felt more could be done to tackle the issue of dog fouling effectively and increasing the fixed penalty was one of the most popular suggestions.