Combatting dog fouling

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Members of the community attended a public meeting, organised by the City of Brechin community council, last week to discuss the problems of dog fouling and litter.

As well as eight members of the community council, Angus Council employees - quality manager Suzanne Austin, waste management inspector David Morgan and senior community warden Alistair Brown - were in attendance, as was local community policeman Billy Rattray.

During the meeting, the group heard from six members of the public who explained problems they were experiencing, particularly regarding dog fouling.

Suzanne Austin described the council’s responsibility for litter ensuring open public spaces are kept clean.

In relation to dog fouling, which is considered refuse, it is also the council’s responsibility to clean it up. She also confirmed the public perception that a major source of litter is school pupils.

Mr Morgan outlined his responsibilities and how complaints from the public arrive at his desk. He also explained that there is a preventative system in operation to advise and help stop littering. Mr Morgan confirmed that there is regular monitoring of the area, particularly of identified hot spots.

Alistair Brown discussed his direct responsibility for enforcement regarding dog fouling. He actively encourages members of the public to report incidents to the ACCESS line or at the office. He listed the number of complaints received and actions taken in identified problem areas.

Alistair particularly mentioned that dog faeces can go into any litter bin and not just red bins. He also mentioned a community-led scheme in Carnoustie called Carnoustie Canine Capers, part of the Green Dog Walkers system.

PC Rattray made one very specific point that the service provided is only as good as the information from the public.

There was some discussion about the use of private CCTVs and PC Rattray explained that under Data Protection regulation it was best not to use them.

However he added that there is nothing to prevent someone taking a real-time photo and passing this on to the council or the police.

Various problem areas were raised by the members of the public and community councillors. There was some debate on who might be causing the dog fouling problems in specific areas where large amounts of faeces are deposited and not picked up.

Convener Grahame Lockhart commented: “This was an excellent opportunity for members of the public to speak to the relevant officers and I was disappointed in the low turnout. However, those who came had ample opportunity to air their concerns.

“Since the meeting I have been contacted by several people who were unable to attend.

“This item will be on the agenda for the next Community Council meeting in the Damacre Centre on Tuesday, October 2, at 7.30pm when community councillors will consider whether any further action can be taken on their part.”