Across East Ayrshire dog fouling is an issue that affects every community and action is being taken to tackle irresponsible dog owners.
Tougher penalties have been introduced for those irresponsible dog owners who refuse to pick up after their dogs. Fixed penalties increased this month from £40 to £80 across Scotland.
The Corporate Enforcement Unit (CEU) is out carrying out enforcement initiatives in all of our towns and villages, issuing fines to those caught not picking up after their dogs.
The Outdoor Amenities team is out picking up dog waste in parks and open spaces, doing the job that some dog owners are just not willing to do themselves.
The Council ensures that free dog waste bags are available from John Dickie Street, Kilmarnock; Rothesay House, Cumnock; Dalmellington Area Centre, Galston customer service centre and Stewarton Area Centre.
And local dog owners are supporting these activities by talking about the importance of being a responsible dog owner.
Bobby Grierson and his 13 year old Parsons Terrier Lizzie and Robert Watters and his 6 month old Border Terrier Murray joined Councillor Tom Cook, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Equalities in Cumnock to discuss the problems they have experienced with irresponsible dog owners.
Mr Grierson, who is part of the History Group and the Community Led Action Plan Steering Group for Cumnock, said: “Taking Lizzie for a walk is good exercise for both of us but dog fouling can impact on the health of others. If your dog does its business on the pavement, road, field or grass verge it’s your responsibility to bag it and bin it as no one wants to see it, or step in it and trail it into your house as it’s not good for the health of kids and adults.
“This is a great initiative and having free bags is good but we also need more litter bins to put it in.”
Councillor Tom Cook said: “I was very pleased to meet up with Bobby and Lizzie, of course, to talk about the problem of dog fouling.
“The vast majority of people are in agreement on this issue. It isn’t acceptable not to pick up after your dog.
“We are doing everything we can, from enforcement activity to picking up dog waste to providing free dog waste bags; what we need now is for all dog owners to behave responsibly.
“Until that day, the CEU will continue working with the local community to tackle irresponsible dog owners. Indeed while we were in the park a dog owner blatantly did not pick up after their dog and was promptly served with an £80 fine.
“I would ask though that you don’t approach irresponsible dog owners yourself. Gather as much information as you can, especially if it is someone you see on a regular basis. Report them to the CEU on 01563 553520 and they will take enforcement action against the individual.”