Positive work being done to combat mess

Angus councillor Jeanette Gaul.
Angus councillor Jeanette Gaul.

The on-going efforts to clean up the county’s streets of dogs’ dirt has been outlined by Angus councillor Jeanette Gaul.

The Kirriemuir and Dean councillor was responding to recent press articles which highlighted complaints in her ward of ‘hot spots’ in and around the town.

Councillor Gaul told the Dispatch and Herald a lot of positive work was going on in the county to tackle the issue.

A dog owner herself, she stressed she was aware there were a lot of responsible dog owners who did pick up after their dogs, but stated there was a misconception nothing was being done to tackle those who did not.

At a meeting with Bob Myles, service manager and Ken Johnston, senior community safety officer with Public Protection and Enforcement, Councillor Gaul explained the Public Protection and Enforcement’s community wardens issued 89 Fixed Penalty Notices for £40 between January 2013 and now.

Three people have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal and five young people were issued with warning notices (in place of fixed penalty notices given they were under the age of 16).

There was a 22 per cent increase in persons detected in comparison with the previous year.

The community wardens have dealt with 522 complaints of dog fouling at 341 different locations, 76 per cent of which are now consistently free of foul.

Furthermore, wardens have visited or made contact with every person who has made a complaint and have witnessed in excess of 2,800 persons complying with the legislation while out on patrol.

The council has also employed a community waste operative who, since January 2013, has collected over 28,000 individual faeces across Angus, picked up over 400 bags of faeces and over 800 pieces of litter.

Through joint working, some 279 hot spots were identified throughout Angus where regular problems of dog fouling occurred.

But joint working by community wardens and the community waste operative has resulted in a marked reduction in faeces found at various locations.

Staff from the Ranger Service, including those at Forfar Loch, Monikie and Crombie country parks, as well as waste management, parks and housing, have all now been trained and authorised to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for dog fouling.

Letters will also be sent out to council tenants reminding them of the terms of their Scottish Secure Tenancy agreement.

Letters were sent to residents in Hillhead Terrace, Kirriemuir last month following reports that dog owners were continuing to allow their dogs to foul in the communal and garden areas.

The letter stated children were unable to play in their gardens due to the dog fouling and the risks to their health. It reminded tenants that they must not keep any animal without permission from Angus Council and that they must take reasonable steps to prevent pets fouling the neighbourhood.

If it is brought to the council’s attention that the tenant has not complied with all of the conditions of the Tenancy Agreement, the council may seek to end the tenancy if, after a reasonable time, the tenant fails to deal with the situation.

Commenting on the work that has been done, Councillor Gaul said: “We have to get the message across that there is positive, good work being done.

“A considerable amount of progress has been made in working jointly to tackle an issue that is not the making of Angus Council. The council does have a part to play but the council does not have a dog. We know there are still challenges to face but we are working on a number of projects, including the launch of the ‘Any Bin Will Do’ leaflet.” (see story on page four).

“Staff are working more closely and impact is being seen across Angus in terms of cleaner communities. The staff are doing a lot of good work. but the person who has the dog has the responsibilty to pick up after the dog, to put it (the mess) in a bag and put it in a bin.”

Councillor Gaul spoke of her frustration of tax payers’ money being spent to clean up the mess,

She added: “It is an unavoidable expense as people are not being responsible. We are trying to educate people to be more responsible.”

If dog fouling is a problem in your area you are asked to report it to the AccessLine on 08452 777 778.