Tougher penalties for irresponsible dog owners.
The fine for dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets has been doubled by the Scottish Parliament.
The fixed penalty for dog fouling is being increased from £40 to £80 to bring it in to line with the fine for littering.
The change comes after the overwhelming majority of responses to a Scottish Government consultation on responsible dog ownership said they would support the fixed penalty being raised. The Dog Fouling (Fixed Penalty) (Scotland) Order 2016 takes effect on 1 April 2016.
Nearly a third of people experience animal nuisance (dog fouling or animal noise) as a very or fairly common problem, according to the Scottish Household Surveys of 2013 and 2014.
As well as the fixed penalty, the Scottish Government is also considering how to develop a more robust system to tackle the issue of collecting unpaid penalties.
Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse, said:
"Dog fouling is not only unpleasant, but also can pose potentially significant risks to health, particularly for children, and we're very clear that dog owners who do not clear up after their dogs 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 and clean up after them.
"Our public consultation has shown us that we have public opinion behind us in an effort to get tougher on dog fouling and to tackle an issue that affects all too many communities across the country."
Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful said:
"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 communities. However, increased fines form only part of the solution and that is why we are leading a national stakeholder group to develop an action plan on the issue."
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.
A further consultation with local authorities, Police Scotland and other stakeholders was met with unanimous agreement with our proposals to align the dog fouling and littering fixed penalties. Scottish Borders Council is supportive of the fine being raised above £80.
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.
Scotland currently has the lowest fixed penalty for dog fouling in the UK. Dog fouling fixed penalties are set at £80 in Northern Ireland. In England and Wales they vary between £50 and £80, though most local authorities have set it at the default level of £75.