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The convener of Campbeltown Community Council (CCC) has welcomed news that Argyll and Bute Council’s leader says it is time for the authority to ‘show it means business’ in tackling the never-ending problem of dog fouling in the area.
Alan Baker, who wrote a letter to the Courier in recent weeks complaining about ‘irresponsible dog owners’ not picking up after their pets, was pleased to hear that council leader Robin Currie said it was time to charge irresponsible dog owners or ‘hit them in the pocket’ if they are seen failing to clean up after their pet – but he feels more needs to be done.
Mr Baker told the Courier: ‘CCC raised concerns with councillors when Argyll and Bute decided to do away with dog wardens and members felt this problem would escalate, which it has.
‘Perhaps it’s time to bring back a dog warden and fine the small minority of dog walkers who do not scoop it, bag it, bin it.
‘Members of CCC also feel that increasing the number of litter bins around the town and erecting more stands with dog poo bags would mean there is no excuse for not cleaning up after your dog.
‘Some areas in Scotland also promote a ‘green dog walkers’ scheme to encourage people to be responsible dog owners.’
Councillor Currie made his remarks on the subject during a virtual meeting of the council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee on Thursday March 4.
Councillor John Armour, South Kintyre, initially raised the issue during a debate on a ‘report card’ which rated the performance of the council’s staff in various service areas.
He said: ‘The indicator for cleanliness is very good, and rightly so, but from what I can gather there is a serious problem with dog fouling throughout Argyll and Bute.
‘The lack of wardens is a problem but the biggest is those who allow dogs to do it in the first place.
‘I don’t know whether getting a message out will make much difference because if people don’t realise by now that it isn’t acceptable, I don’t know what the answer is.
‘But we have to be seen to do something, whether by social media, putting posters out, or similar.
‘I have had one instance of somebody letting their dog do its business beside a pram, and all the items in the basket below were covered in dog mess. The owner just shrugged their shoulders and said, ‘What can I do?’.
‘I know we cannot police these things without people’s names, but we need to be saying to the council that we must be getting out there.’
Jim Smith, the council’s amenity services manager, responded: ‘By and large we have less of a problem than in some other areas, where it is quite disgusting.
‘I would say most dog owners are responsible and clean up after their dogs.
‘A social media campaign would assist and we will look at the council website as well to see if more information can be given out.’
Councillor Currie added: ‘It is definitely a big problem in Argyll and Bute. It doesn’t matter where you go – it is all over the place.
‘I am being very strong here, but I think we need to be strong, and I would like to see a big push to try and pin down the owners, get them charged, and show people we mean business.
‘Social media may do some things but we will never get through to irresponsible dog owners. The only way of doing that is hitting them in the pocket.’