Dog dirt fines on the increase

The biggest issue facing Dumfries and Galloway’s Community safety teams was the eternal problem of dog fouling.

Community councils across the region have raged about the issue for so long, Stranraer Councillor Willie Scobie commented that many had “given up” on the local authority ever tackling it.

In a report on the community safety service to elected members of Wigtown Area Committee on Wednesday, statistics showed that there were 51 complaints to the teams from April to September 2013 with 17 fixed penalty notices issued and 34 complaints from April to September 2014 with 26 fixed penalty notices issued.

Council officer Jim Hendrie said that the main problem that community safety officers faced was having to actually witness the dog fouling taking place and photograph it. Only when they had that evidence could then issue a penalty.

He added: “To have witnessed it and captured it 26 times in six months is pretty good going and it shows the teams are doing their job.”

Mid Galloway Councillor Jim McColm said the co-operation of the public giving information to the community safety teams to identify the culprits was “essential”.

Fellow Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes wanted to push the Scottish Government into introducing legislation to create a “meaningful and serious” dog licensing service.

Community Safety Service statistics also revealed a huge increase charges for car parking offences in Stranraer, rising from 182 from April to September 2013 to 438 in the same period last year - an increase of 140 per cent.

Mr Hendrie said that the increase was a reflection of a “far more efficient” patrolling system being introduced.

He pointed out that car parking was still free in Stranraer and if drivers followed the rules and displayed a disc and didn’t park for longer than the allotted two hours they wouldn’t be fined. He said that the council officers also gave drivers a 20 minute period of grace.

Wigtown West Councillor Grahame Forster was keen to have the parking strategy in Stranraer review to bring it into line with other towns like Dumfries where the parking was free in disc controlled zones for three hours not two.

Stranraer Councillor Marion McCutcheon agreed saying that two hours was not long enough for drivers to enjoy their lunch.